Age Related Macular Degeneration
What is it:
Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects the macula, the part of the eye responsible for your central vision. Damage to this area results in a loss of vision in the center of your field of view making it difficult to read, drive, and recognize faces. AMD usually affects people over the age of 50, and affects women more often than men.
Causes and Risk factors:
UV light exposure
Early Stages: minimal to no symptoms
Moderate stages: distortion, blurring, or missing areas of the central vision; faces become blurred, reading becomes difficult as letters or words appear missing
Late Stage: significant vision loss in the central area
How is it detected:
The best way to detect this disease is by having your eyes examined yearly (or more frequently if directed by your doctor). During your exam your doctor will examine the retina (the back layer of your eye) to look for any changes or deterioration of the macula. She may order additional tests such as retinal photos or an OCT which shows a cross section of the different retinal layers.
How is treated:
There are two forms of AMD – a dry and a wet form. The dry form is more common, making up about 90% of all AMD cases and causes less severe vision loss, however currently there is no specific treatment for the dry form. The wet form accounts for about 10% of cases, but causes about 90% of the severe vision loss associated with AMD. The wet form is treated with anti-vegf (medication that blocks vascular endothelial growth factor). Both forms have been shown to benefit from eye vitamins, specifically the AREDS 2 formula. Sun protection is very important since UV light exposure is known to cause/worsen the condition. It is recommended to always wear good UVA/UVB blocking sunglasses and hats to keep the sun’s rays from entering above the sunglasses. It is important to see your eye doctor regularly and inform the doctor of any changes to your vision.