Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Macular degeneration is usually linked to aging, hence its name, AMD (age-related macular degeneration). It is also one of the leading causes of visual impairment in people 65 years and older. It is a pathology that reaches the retina and more particularly the region of the macula. The latter, when healthy, allows a clear and precise central vision.
Symptoms of AMD
Although AMD is initially asymptomatic, it can be detected by regular eye exams. The disease is painless throughout its progression. The first symptom to appear is that of a fuzzy point in the center of the vision. Situations that require precise vision, such as reading or face recognition, become more difficult for the eye. The other symptoms of AMD also include the deformation of straight lines and the appearance of small black dots in the center of vision.
Risk factors for AMD
Known risk factors for AMD include age (from age 50), smoking, heredity, high blood pressure, diet (high cholesterol), overexposure to the sun, and sex. (Some studies have shown that women are at higher risk of developing AMD).
The different forms of AMD
There are two forms of AMD: dry and wet. The first, and most widespread, is linked to a slow and progressive degeneration of the macula. There is no recognized treatment for this form. However, taking certain vitamins may help slow the progression of the disease in some patients. The second form, wet AMD, is characterized by a sudden onset. A leak of blood from the new blood vessels that appear in the choroid creates hemorrhage and disrupts the retina causing severe and rapid vision loss. Unlike the dry form of this disease, it is treatable to maximize vision. It is important to note that dry AMD can turn into wet AMD over time.
How to treat AMD?
Like many benign diseases, healthy lifestyle habits will help prevent macular degeneration. Quitting smoking, wearing sunglasses, having a healthy diet and taking vitamins designed for AMD will help prevent the disease. For wet AMD, it can be treated with intravitreal injections to seal blood leaks. These injections do not cure the disease, but help to stabilize it. In most cases, the injections will be administered throughout the patient's life.
Remember that early diagnosis remains the most effective solution for rapid and effective management of AMD. For all your eye health needs and questions, contact our team.