MACULAR DEGENERATION

What is Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a problem with your retina. It happens when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged. With AMD you lose your central vision. You cannot see fine details, whether you are looking at something close or far. But your peripheral (side) vision will still be normal. For instance, imagine you are looking at a clock with hands. With AMD, you might see the clock’s numbers but not the hands.

Two types of AMD

Dry AMD
This form is quite common. About 80% (8 out of 10) of people who have AMD have the dry form. Dry AMD is when parts of the macula get thinner with age and tiny clumps of a protein called drusen grow. You slowly lose central vision. There is no way to treat dry AMD yet.

Wet AMD
This form is less common but much more serious. Wet AMD is when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels may leak blood or other fluids, causing scarring of the macula. You lose vision faster with wet AMD than with dry AMD.

Many people don’t realize they have AMD until their vision is very blurry. This is why it is important to have regular visits to an ophthalmologist. He or she can look for early signs of AMD before you have any vision problems.

Who Is at Risk for AMD?

You are more likely to develop AMD if you:

Having heart disease is another risk factor for AMD, as is having high cholesterol levels. Caucasians (white people) also have an elevated risk of getting AMD.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatment

Dry AMD treatment
Right now, there is no way to treat the dry form of AMD. However, people with lots of drusen or serious vision loss might benefit from taking a certain combination of nutritional supplements. A large study found those people may slow their dry AMD by taking these vitamins and minerals daily:

Your ophthalmologist can tell you if vitamins and minerals are recommended for your dry AMD.

Wet AMD treatment
To help treat wet AMD, there are medications called anti-VEGF drugs. Anti-VEGF treatment helps reduce the number of abnormal blood vessels in your retina. It also slows any leaking from blood vessels. This medicine is delivered to your eye through a very slender needle.