Age Related Macular Degeneration 101

AMD

What is AMD?

AMD is a widespread eye condition that causes vision loss among people who are 50 years and above. If you’re worried that you’re not able to see things straight ahead, it is possible that a small spot near the center of your retina has been damaged. The disease may progress differently amongst different people. For some, it doesn’t cause a problem for a long time, while for others; they may develop a loss of vision in one or both eyes. It then becomes an obstacle in performing daily activities such as reading, writing, driving, household chores and seeing faces.

Stages of AMD

  1. Early AMD
    There exists a medium-sized drusen, approximately the width of a typical human hair. However, people in this stage do not suffer from loss of vision.
  2. Intermediate AMD
    Although people will not experience any symptoms, this stage may result in loss of vision. Here, the drusen is larger and some discoloration would appear in the retina. However, these changes can only be identified after an eye exam.
  3. Late AMD
    People at this stage will experience a loss of vision. There are two types of late AMD.

    • Dry AMD where communication of the visual information with the brain is weakened, which results in the loss of vision. Around 80% of people experience Dry AMD, wherein you gradually lose your central vision.
    • Wet AMD where the central part of the retina is swollen and damaged. This can happen pretty quickly and is serious. Although it is less common, it is much more severe. You’re likely to have unusual blood vessels growing under your retina, which results in a discharge of blood and other fluids.
      Your chances of losing your vision are higher with Wet AMD than Dry AMD. Moreover, one can experience both Dry and Wet AMD at the same time and either one can appear first.

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors involved in the possibility of AMD. Leading an unhealthy lifestyle which includes smoking, consuming a diet rich in saturated fat that comprises meat, butter and cheese can lead to cardiovascular disease and being overweight. Besides, continuous exposure to the sun without eye protection can also lead to AMD.

There are also a few factors that are beyond anyone’s control which involve a person aging, being a Caucasian, a family history of AMD, having far sightedness and if you are a female, can all lead to AMD.

Symptoms of AMD

Symptoms may not appear in the early stages of AMD. You may notice that the quality of your vision would weaken and that straight lines may appear irregular to you. Moreover, dark, cloudy areas or whiteout as well as your ability to recognize colors may also alter.

Treatment of AMD

Eye drops are applied to widen your pupil that allows the doctor to look into the inside of your eye with the help of a special lens.

Your doctor may also inject a yellow dye into your arm, which travels throughout your blood vessels and with the help of a special camera, your doctor will be able to check if there is any unusual development of blood vessels under the retina.

Although there is no way to cure Dry AMD at present, nutritional supplements can help with slowing down the condition. The following vitamins and minerals would help:

  • Vitamin C (500gm)
  • Vitamin E (400IU)
  • Lutein (10gm)
  • Zeaxanthin (2mg)
  • Zinc (80mg)
  • Copper (2mg)

For patients with Wet AMD, anti-VEGF treatments help to minimize the development of unusual blood vessels in the retina and also controls any leaking that may have happened. There are also laser treatments available for people with Wet AMD.

Good eye health is a very significant part of your well-being. If you think you might be at risk of developing AMD, and are looking for an experienced ophthalmologist in Fresno, call us on 559-449-5050.

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