How to Deal with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
AMD, Age-related Macular Degeneration
The eye disease that affects central vision—mostly due to aging—is called macular degeneration. According to an eye specialist, the leading cause of visual problems in the elderly is age-related macular degeneration. Read on to know more about this illness, and how to deal with it:
What is age-related macular degeneration?
In the retina—the light-sensitive layer of the eye—there is a central part, which wears down as one age. This central part is called macula and is responsible for the crisp, sharp images of straight-ahead vision. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) makes it hard to see faces, do close-up work, read, drive and perform activities of daily living.
The vision loss with age-related macular degeneration is not acute. The vision deteriorates slowly over time, and in fact, may go unnoticed initially. In young adults and children, another form of macular degeneration, called Stargardt disease or juvenile macular degeneration, occurs.
What are the types of age-related macular degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration is of two primary types:
Dry macular degeneration: in this form of AMD, dry yellow deposits called drusen spots are formed on the macula. These spots do not change the vision, per se, especially initially; however, they obstruct vision when they grow in size and number, particularly for close vision activities, like reading.
With the worsening of drusen spots, the light-sensitive cells in the macula get thinner, so much so that they eventually die. This atrophy of the light-sensitive cells of the macula leads to blind spots in the central vision, with eventual loss of complete central vision.
Dry macular degeneration is the most common form of AMD and progresses slowly over the year. About 80 percent of all cases of AMD are of the dry type. It occurs in three phases—early, intermediate and late—with the latter having no treatment. On the other hand, in the early and intermediate phases, steps can be taken to protect the vision.
The exact cause of dry AMD is not known, although it is postulated that genetics and environmental factors have a huge impact on disease pathogenesis.
Wet macular degeneration: this type of AMD is also called advanced neovascular macular degeneration. With this type, the progression of vision loss is much faster than the dry form. However, this is a less common type of AMD.
Wet AMD is always late stage, and constitutes growth of blood vessels underneath the macula. These blood vessels are weak and fragile, causing leakage of blood and fluid onto the retina. Consequently, there is distortion of vision, blind spots, and even complete loss of central vision. The latter is more common when these blood vessels leak and form a scar.
What are the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration?
The symptoms of age-related macular degeneration present with:
- Blurry vision
- Blind spot or dark area in the central part of vision
- Difficulty in facial recognition
- Difficulty in reading and driving
- Change in color perception
- Wavy appearance of straight lines
What are the risk factors for age-related macular degeneration?
The risk factors related to age-related macular degeneration, include:
- Age 50 years and above
- Consuming a diet high in saturated fats
- High blood pressure
- History of heart disease
- Family history of age-related macular degeneration.
- Higher Body Mass Index(BMI)
- Risk of high cardiovascular diseases.
How is age-related macular degeneration diagnosed?
AMD may present initially like any other eye condition. The healthcare provider needs to assess the eye, with thorough clinical and physical examination to make the diagnosis. They may also perform the following investigations:
- Visual acuity test
- Fluorescein angiography
- Amsler grid
- Retinal exam
- CT scan
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
- Optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA)
Best way to prevent from age-related macular degeneration:
There are many ways to prevent from age related macular degeneration(AMD) but here are the some quick and easy steps to conquer AMD.
- Loose weight
- Quit smoking Now
- Be physically active
- Maintain your cholestrol level.
- Always find ways to manage your blood pressure and keep it monitor.
- Health food is the main thing to prevent from Age relate Macular Degeneration.
When to call a Doctor if you have age-related macular degeneration:
As there are many eye specialist Doctors in Pakistan who can treat and have excellent experience in treating age related macular degeneration.
Call or visit your doctor immediately if you are experiencing such symptoms :
- Painfuland inflammatory eye.
- Eye sensitivity to light.
- Pressure and pain on eye.
What are the treatment options for age-related macular degeneration?
Your healthcare provider like Best Eye specialist in Karachi will treat macular degeneration, based on its type. For the wet form, medication like anti-VEGF drugs is effective, while for the dry form, improving diet, consuming nutritious foods, and lowering risk factors are the only options.