Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatment

Age-Related Macular DegenerationWhat 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. Macular degeneration is a progressive disease. Intervention is recommended to stop it from getting worse. If it isn’t controlled, 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.  

Types of AMD

Wet form

With this type of AMD, abnormal blood vessels start to grow underneath the macula. What happens is there is 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, loss of central vision might occur, and there also may be blind spots. If the condition is left untreated, the bleeding will sooner or later cause a scar to form in the affected area, which will result in permanent central vision loss.

Dry form

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 the disease progresses, the light-sensitive layer in the macula thins out, which leads to tissue death. At this point, the patient might experience blind spots. They can even lose central vision. Patients suffering from the wet form are usually the ones that experience a major loss of vision. Luckily, about 90% of people get dry AMD. Yet, it is important to note that the dry one can easily lead to the wet one. So, once you are diagnosed with this condition, you ought to take measures as soon as possible.  

Macular Degeneration Treatment

Currently, there is no treatment for the deformity but the symptoms can be reduced and slowed down in a number of ways. Here are your options.

What works for wet form macular degeneration:

  • Photodynamic therapy (laser therapy). This is a procedure that is performed in the outpatient department with the help of light-activated drugs, called photosensitising or photosensitiser agents. It 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 abnormal blood vessels in the macula where it builds up. Next up, a special cold laser light of low intensity is shone at the retina, as a result of which the drug is activated. What is good about this treatment is that the retinal cells are not damaged. The therapy generally works to reduce leakage.
  • Oral medication. The disease can also be affected positively by certain drugs, including but not restricted to: Aflibercept (Eylea), Macugen, Ranibizumab (Lucentis), and Bevacizumab (Avastin). All these have undergone clinical trials, some of them are even FDA-approved, which generally means they are safe to use.

What works for dry form macular degeneration:

  • So far the dry form of AMD 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 AMD

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 a 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 and minerals it is, 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.  

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 fits your condition, we encourage you to enquire via the form below.

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