Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disorder that may get worse as time passes. It’s the major cause of severe, permanent vision loss in people over age 60.
It occurs whenever the small central part of your retina, known as the macula, wears down. The retina is your light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of your eye.
Because the disorder happens as you get older, it is often called age-related macular degeneration. It generally doesn’t cause blindness but may cause severe vision problems.
Another form of macular degeneration, known as Stargardt disease or juvenile macular degeneration, affects children and young adults.
There are two main types of age-related macular degeneration:
People with this could have yellowish deposits, called drusen, in their macula. A few small drusen may not cause changes in your eyesight.
But as they get bigger and more numerous, they may dim or distort your eyesight, particularly when you read. As the condition gets worse, the light-sensitive cells on your macula get thinner and finally die.
In the atrophic type, you may have blind spots in the middle of your vision. As that gets worse, you could lose central vision.
Blood vessels develop from beneath your macula. These blood vessels leak fluid and blood into your retina. Your eyesight is distorted so that straight lines look wavy.
You may also have blind spots and a lack of central vision. These blood vessels and also their bleeding eventually form a scar, resulting in permanent loss of vision.
Most people with macular degeneration have the dry form, but the dry kind may lead to the wet type. Only about 10% of individuals with macular degeneration get the wet form.
When you’ve got macular degeneration, you’ll need to monitor your vision carefully and visit your eye doctor regularly.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration:
Early on, you may have no noticeable signs of macular degeneration. It might not be identified until it gets worse or affects both eyes.
Symptoms of macular degeneration could include:
- A worse or not as clear vision. Your vision might be blurry, and it may be hard to read fine print or drive.
- Dark, darkened regions in the Middle of your vision
- Rarely, worse or different color perception
If you’ve any of these symptoms, go to an eye doctor as soon as possible.
Causes of Macular Degeneration:
Macular degeneration is more common in older people due to Age-related factors. It is the main cause of serve vision loss in adults over 60.
Macular degeneration may have something to do with your genes. If someone in your family has it, then your risk may be higher.
Smoking, having high blood pressure or high cholesterol, obesity, eating tons of saturated fat, being light-skinned, being female, and with a mild eye color can also be risk factors.
Diagnosis of Macular Degeneration:
A regular eye exam can identify age-related macular degeneration. One of the most common early signs is drusen miniature yellow spots under your retina or pigment clumping.
Your physician can see these when they analyze your eyes.
Your physician may also ask you to look at an Amsler grid, a pattern of straight lines that resembles a checkerboard.
A number of the straight lines may appear wavy to you, or you can notice that some of the lines are missing. These may be signs of macular degeneration.
If your doctor finds age-related macular degeneration, you might have a process known as angiography or one called OCT… In angiography, your doctor injects dye into a vein in your arm.
They take photographs as the dye flows through the blood vessels in your retina.
If there are new vessels or vessels leaking blood or fluid on your macula, the photos will present their specific location and type.
OCT is able to see fluid or blood beneath your retina without dye.
It’s important to see your eye doctor regularly to locate signs of macular degeneration early. Treatment can slow the condition or make it less severe.
Treatments For Macular Degeneration:
There is no cure for macular degeneration. Treatment may slow it down or keep you from losing too much of your vision. Your options might include:
- Anti-angiogenesis drugs. These medications — aflibercept (Eylea), bevacizumab (Avastin), pegaptanib (Macugen), and ranibizumab (Lucentis) — block the introduction of blood vessels and leaking out of the vessels in your eye which trigger wet macular degeneration.
A lot of people who have taken these medications got back eyesight that was lost. You might have to get this treatment multiple times.
- Laser treatment. High-energy laser light may destroy abnormal blood vessels growing in your eye.
- Photodynamic laser treatment. Your doctor injects a light-sensitive medication verteporfin (Visudyne) into your blood, and it’s consumed by the abnormal blood vessels.
Your physician then shines a laser into your eye to activate the medication to damage people’s blood vessels.
- Low vision aids. These are devices that have special lenses or electronic systems to create bigger pictures of things that are nearby.
They help people who have vision loss from macular degeneration get the most out of their residual vision.
Researchers are studying new treatments for macular degeneration, but they are experimental.
They include: This eliminates abnormal blood vessels or blood. A procedure to destroy abnormal blood vessels under the middle of your macula, where your physician can not use a laser beam.
In this process, your physician rotates the middle of your macula from the abnormal blood vessels into a healthy area of your retina.
This keeps you from having scar tissue and much more damage to your retina. Then, your doctor uses a laser to treat the abnormal blood vessels.
Macular Degeneration Prevention:
A large study found that some people with dry AMD could impede the disease by using nutritional supplements of vitamins E and C, lutein, zeaxanthin, magnesium, and aluminum.
Consult your doctor if these supplements would help you.
What Is the Outlook for Individuals With Macular Degeneration?
People seldom lose all of their eyesight from age-related macular degeneration. Their central vision might be bad, but they’re still able to perform many ordinary daily activities.
The ironic form of age-related macular degeneration tends to get worse slowly, so you can keep most of your eyesight.
The wet form of macular degeneration is a leading cause of permanent vision loss. When it’s in both eyes, then it may damage your quality of life.
Wet macular degeneration can need repeated treatments. Examine your eyesight regularly, and follow your physician’s advice.
Ask your friends and loved ones for support.
If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, consider joining a support group or seeking counseling. Believe in your ability to take control of the pain…
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