Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans over age 65. AMD is an aging change of the retina. This causes a loss of central vision which happens slowly over time.
Types of AMD
Dry AMD: This is the most common type. Dry AMD refers to the earlier stage where drusen and atrophic areas are present. The patient will slowly lose their central vision.
Wet AMD: In about 10 percent of AMD patients, the weak areas lead to abnormal blood vessel growth beneath the retina. These abnormal blood vessels can bleed or leak which can cause scarring.
- People, who are lightly pigmented, with blond hair and blue eyes, have a higher risk.
- Family history is a well-documented risk factor for macular degeneration.
- Several studies have linked smoking to macular degeneration.
- Diet may also be a factor.
How is AMD Diagnosed?
A dilated retinal exam begins with administering dilating eye drops to open the pupils. This allows the ophthalmologist to see the retina and look for signs of macular degeneration.
As part of their evaluation, many patients with macular degeneration may undergo various testing: Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and/or a Fluorescein Angiography (FA)
Dry AMD: Right now there is no treatment, however, patients may benefit from taking eye vitamins which are a combination of nutritional supplements that formulated in the Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS & AREDS2), which were clinical trials we participated in. Vision should also be monitored daily with the use of an amsler grid. Call your physician right away if you notice any changes in your vision.
Wet AMD: There are medications called Anti-VEGF drugs to help treat wet AMD. These medications are injected into the eye and help reduce the number of abnormal blood vessels in your retina. They also slow any leaking from blood vessles. Retinal Laser Treatment may also be used to treat some types of wet AMD.