Macular Degeneration Treatment

August 17, 2015

 

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a disease of the retina.

The retina is the “film” of the eye which captures the images we see, before sending them to the brain. The retina covers the entire back surface of the eye. Macular degeneration typically affects only the central part of the retina, called the “macula.” This region operates our sharpest central vision and color vision.

 

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of legal blindness in the US, in patients over 60.

Many people with macular degeneration maintain good vision. But this common disease can make it difficult for patients to perform routine activities such as reading and driving.

 

Married couple stood on a beach

There are two forms of macular degeneration: wet or dry.

Both cause devastating visual loss by creating a scar in the
central retina (the macula). The wet type provokes the majority of the severe cases. This form of the disease produces abnormal, leaking blood vessels. The dry form of AMD is more common, less severe, and usually causes a gradual loss of vision. Dry AMD may be caused by white/yellow fatty deposits accumulating under retinal tissue.

 

Exciting new therapies for macular degeneration are available for some patients.

But currently only a small percentage of patients at specific stages can be treated. A new therapy called VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) not only stabilizes macular degeneration, but also may improve a patient’s vision. Also, antioxidant vitamins and zinc might reduce the effect of AMD in some people. Early diagnosis is critical to reduce the risk of permanent vision loss from AMD.

Macular degeneration and other age-related diseases are high risk for vision loss.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a dilated eye exam every two years for patients over age 40 and annually for patients over age 60.

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