Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatment

What is Macular Degeneration?

This is a condition in which the macula – the central part of the retina – begins to deteriorate. In most cases, it develops with the increase of age, this is why it is mostly known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It is important to mention that the deformity does not affect peripheral vision.

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration include:

Blurry or dark areas around the centre of vision

Decreased resolution of vision, which affects one’s ability to drive, read the fine print, etc.

Changed colour perception

Risk factors include genetic predisposition (history of family members with AMD), smoking history, hypertension, high cholesterol, and poor nutrition. Macular degeneration is a progressive disease. Intervention is recommended to stop it from getting worse. Without treatment or control measures, you may fall within the “legal blindness” category. This is when your eyesight is so impaired that it has to be defined by law to either make you eligible for certain benefits or limit certain activities like driving a car.

The risk of developing Macular Degeneration increases as we age. Statistically, 1 in 3 adults will suffer from macular degeneration before the age of 75.

Types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Wet form

With this type of Age-Related Macular Degeneration, abnormal blood vessels start to grow underneath the macula. The growth of these new blood vessels may leakage of fluid and blood into the retina, which distorts vision.

Broadly speaking, here is how it looks like: straight lines will appear as wavy, central vision loss might occur. As the condition continues to progress, growth of these new blood vessels may cause damage to the retina, resulting in possible vision loss in the form of blind spots. If the blood vessels condition is left untreated, the bleeding will sooner or later cause a scar to form in the affected area of the retina, which will result in permanent central vision loss.

Dry form

Known as dry macular degeneration (dry AMD), yellow deposits can be observed in the macula. These are called drusen. When their number is insignificant, vision is not likely to be affected; however, if they grow in size and quantity, this can cause vision problems. It will be most noticeable when reading. Now, if dry AMD progresses, the light-sensitive layer in the macula thins out, which leads to macular tissue death. At this point, the patient might experience vision loss in the form of blind spots, or even lose central vision. Patients suffering from the wet form are usually the ones that experience a major areas of vision loss. Luckily, about 90% of people get dry AMD. Yet, it is important to note that the dry AMD may easily develop into wet AMD. So, once you are diagnosed with this condition, you ought to take measures as soon as possible to prevent and manage any possible damage to the retina and permanent loss of vision.

Macular Degeneration Treatment

Currently, there is no treatment for the macular degeneration but the symptoms can be reduced and slowed down in a number of ways. Regular checkups with your eye doctor will help spot the symptoms early can greatly aid eye care, treatment and management of the condition. Read on for more options.

What works for wet macular degeneration:

  • Photodynamic therapy (laser therapy). This is a treatment that is performed in the outpatient department with the help of light-activated drugs, called photosensitising or photosensitiser agents. Photodynamic therapy works like this — The inactive form of said medication is put into a syringe and administered into a vein in the arm. It then migrates to the abnormal blood vessels in the macula where it builds up. Next up, special cold laser light of low intensity is shone at the retina, as a result of which the drug is activated on the new blood vessels in the region. What is good about this treatment is that the retinal cells are not damaged. The treatment generally works to reduce leakage.

  • Intravitreal Injections. This treatment delivers anti-vascular drugs directly into the blood vessels in the eye by a quick and painless procedure. The abnormal blood vessels are then suppressed. The suppression of these abnormal blood vessels will then lead to alleviated symptoms of the disease.

What works for dry macular degeneration:

  • So far the treatment for dry form of Age-Related Macular Degeneration is best prevented by refraining from smoking, improving nutrition and lutein/zeaxanthin supplements.
  • Additionally, an occupational therapist or a rehabilitation specialist might partner up to help you adapt to it. Talk to your doctor for more details.
  • Another way to significantly improve your eyesight is to have a telescopic lens implanted in one or both eyes. It comes packed with lenses that improve close-up and distant vision alike. The only drawback is its field of view is quite narrow, which means its use is restricted to an urban environment.

Prevention of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Here are the steps you can take to fend off the disease. The first one is to remember to schedule routine eye exams. It is important to visit an eye doctor every now and then to make sure one of the most important organs in your body is in good health. Depending on your condition, the specialist will tell you how often you should have check-ups. In between those, you can self-assess your vision at home with the Amsler grid. The test is literally a piece of the grid with a small dot in the centre and you have to look at it with each eye separately. If everything is fine with your sight, you will see straight lines. If a macular disease is present, some of the lines may be missing or you might see wavy lines. You can purchase a package on the Internet. The second step is to choose your food wisely. The richer in vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids, the less often you will have to reach for the bottle of nutritional supplements. However, if your diet is not capable of providing your body with everything it needs, you might have to stick with pills. And the third step is to ditch cigarettes. It may be easier said than done, but breaking a bad habit is always great. Smoking is proven to do harm to your body, including your eyes.

Building these good habits can reduce the risk of AMD occurring , ensuring continued good health for your eyes and greatly improved quality of life.

Why Asia Retina Eye Surgery Centre?

At Asia Retina, treatment of wet AMD is customised to each individual. Our options include eye injections scheduled at a treat-and-extend regime; laser, if necessary; and surgery is reserved for cases of massive retinal bleeding that needs urgent evacuation. To better understand the disease and for help with identifying which macular degeneration treatment best fits your condition, we encourage you to book an appointment.

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