• Age related macular degeneration

    Posted on February 8, 2010 by in Featured

    Picture Courtesy: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

    Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a chronic, painless, eye disease where there is deterioration of the macula.  The macula, part of the retina, is the part of the eye that has the sharpest central vision and allows us to see precise details.  Someone with AMD has central vision loss.  This vision loss can impact performance of daily activities such as:

    • Reading
    • Driving
    • Cooking
    • Watching TV
    • Ironing

    Symptoms of AMD include:

    • Blurred Vision
    • A blurred/blind spot in the center of vision
    • Straight lines appear wavy during activities like reading

    AMD is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in Americans 65 years old and older.   There are two forms of AMD, the wet and dry forms.

    Wet Form: This form of AMD affects approximately 10-15% of individuals with the disease.  It occurs when blood vessels in the retina that have grown beneath the macula, break and leak blood and fluids. This breakage damages the macula, pulling it away from its original location. The leaking results in damage that creates blind spots in the central vision.

    Dry Form:  This form affects approximately 85-90% of individuals with AMD.  It occurs when cells in the macula slowly deteriorate resulting in blurred central vision.  As the disease progresses, the individual experiences more blurred vision and gradually loses their central vision.    There are 3 stages of dry form AMD, they are:

    1. Early AMD: There are no symptoms and no vision loss, but individuals may have several small, or a few medium sized Drusen – yellow deposits under the retina.
    2. Intermediate AMD: Individuals may find that they need more light to complete certain activities like reading.  They may also have blurred spots in the center of their vision.  In this stage, individuals have numerous medium sized drusen or one or more large drusen.
    3. Advanced Dry AMD: In this stage blurred spots in the center of vision may get darker and bigger.  Individuals experience more loss of their central vision, which may result in greater difficulty with reading and with recognizing faces.

    Risk Factors for AMD include:

    • Being 60 years old and older
    • Women have higher incidences of the disease
    • Obesity
    • Smoking
    • Having a family history of the disease
    • Caucasians have a higher incidence of the disease

    Treatment for the Wet form of AMD includes:

    • Laser surgery: which is used to destroy leaky blood vessels
    • Photodynamic therapy uses drugs and light to destroy blood vessels that may leak
    • Injections



    Treatment for the Dry form of AMD includes

    Taking specific formulas of antioxidants and zinc To find out more about treatments for AMD click here: Visionaware.org


    Sources: Visionaware.org, National Institutes of Health, Allaboutvision.com