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AMD

 

  • Associated with aging, AMD affects the central vision needed for sharp vision and common tasks like driving and reading. Adults over age 60 are most at risk for AMD, but the disease can appear as early as age 40. Studies have also shown that women tend to be more affected with AMD than men.
  • There is no cure for age-related macular degeneration, though particular combinations of vitamins and antioxidants may slow the progress in its less advanced stages. Treatment of wet AMD has advanced significantly with the introduction of anti-vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF) drugs. When administered at an early stage, this treatment will prevent further vision loss and may improve vision in the majority of patients.

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

When you read, do words on the page appear blurry? Is there a dark or empty area in the center of your vision? Do straight lines appear crooked? If you answered yes to any of these questions you may have age-related macular degeneration.

Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, causes deterioration of the retina, the layer of light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. Associated with aging, AMD affects the central vision needed for sharp vision and common tasks like driving and reading.  Symptoms include:

  • Blurry or distorted central vision
  • Difficulty reading, driving or recognizing faces
  • Distortion of the center of a scene
  • Dark or empty area in the center of vision
  • Dimming of color vision

Adults over age 60 are most at risk for AMD, but the disease can appear as early as age 40. It is the leading cause of impaired reading or detailed vision loss for adults over age 50 and the most common cause of severe vision loss in adults age 65 and older. Studies have also shown that women tend to be more affected with AMD than men.

How We Treat It

There are two types of AMD – dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration.  About 90 percent of AMD cases are diagnosed as dry macular degeneration. As the retina deteriorates, a very small area of the retina responsible for central and color vision gradually loses function. The dry form of AMD can sometimes progress and develop into the more severe form of the disease, wet macular degeneration.

Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels form under the retina, causing fluid or blood to leak and leading to blurred or distorted vision. Scarring may occur, which could result in severe and permanent loss of central vision. Fortunately, with early detection and current methods of treatment, most severe vision loss can be prevented.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for age-related macular degeneration, though particular combinations of vitamins and antioxidants may slow the progress in its less advanced stages. Treatment of wet AMD has advanced significantly with the introduction of anti-vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF) drugs. When administered at an early stage, this treatment will prevent further vision loss and may improve vision in the majority of patients.

Additionally, people who suffer from AMD can compensate for some of their vision loss by using reading glasses, magnifying glasses and direct light when reading or doing close-up work.

VIDEOS

Want to learn more about our retinal specialist Dr. Howard Lazarus, or John-Kenyon Retina Center’s evaluation and treatment options for AMD, Diabetic Retinopathy, and retinal detachments? Check out our video center.

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