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Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Jese Leos
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Published in Age Related Macular Degeneration: Diagnosis Symptoms And Treatment An Overview (Ophthalmology No 1)
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What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye disease that affects the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for central vision. It is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50, and there is currently no cure.

Age related Macular Degeneration: Diagnosis Symptoms and Treatment An Overview (Ophthalmology No 1)
Age-related Macular Degeneration: Diagnosis, Symptoms and Treatment, An Overview (Ophthalmology series No. 1)
by Adolph Barr

4.2 out of 5

Language : English
File size : 2307 KB
Text-to-Speech : Enabled
Screen Reader : Supported
Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
Print length : 73 pages
Lending : Enabled

AMD is caused by the breakdown of the macula, which is made up of specialized cells that are responsible for detecting light and converting it into electrical signals that are then sent to the brain. As the macula breaks down, these cells are damaged and vision becomes impaired.

Types of AMD

There are two main types of AMD:

  • Dry AMD is the most common type, accounting for about 85% of cases. It progresses slowly and gradually over time, and it is characterized by the formation of drusen, which are small yellow deposits that accumulate in the macula. Drusen can lead to the breakdown of the macula, which can cause vision loss.
  • Wet AMD is less common, but it is more severe and can lead to rapid vision loss. It is characterized by the growth of abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula. These blood vessels can leak blood and fluid into the macula, which can damage the macula and cause vision loss.

Causes of AMD

The exact cause of AMD is unknown, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some of the risk factors for AMD include:

  • Age: The risk of AMD increases with age. People over the age of 50 are at the highest risk for developing AMD.
  • Family history: People who have a family history of AMD are at an increased risk for developing the disease.
  • Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of AMD by two to three times.
  • Obesity: Obesity is associated with an increased risk of AMD.
  • High blood pressure: High blood pressure is associated with an increased risk of AMD.
  • High cholesterol: High cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of AMD.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of AMD.

Symptoms of AMD

The symptoms of AMD can vary depending on the type of AMD and the severity of the disease. Some of the common symptoms of AMD include:

  • Blurred central vision: This is the most common symptom of AMD. People with AMD may have difficulty reading, driving, or recognizing faces.
  • Distorted vision: People with AMD may see straight lines as wavy or curved.
  • Dark spots or blind spots: People with AMD may develop dark spots or blind spots in their central vision.
  • Loss of color vision: People with AMD may experience a loss of color vision, especially in the blue-yellow range.

Diagnosis of AMD

AMD is diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam. Your eye doctor will dilate your pupils and examine your macula using a special microscope called an ophthalmoscope. Your doctor may also order imaging tests, such as an optical coherence tomography (OCT) or a fluorescein angiogram, to get a more detailed view of your macula.

Treatment Options for AMD

There is currently no cure for AMD, but there are treatments that can help to slow the progression of the disease and preserve vision.

Treatment options for dry AMD include:

  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, may help to slow the progression of dry AMD.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin: Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that are found in the macula. They may help to protect the macula from damage.
  • AREDS2 supplements: AREDS2 supplements are a combination of antioxidants and minerals that have been shown to slow the progression of dry AMD in people with intermediate or advanced AMD.

Treatment options for wet AMD include:

  • Anti-VEGF injections: Anti-VEGF injections are medications that are injected into the eye to block the growth of abnormal blood vessels. They are the most effective treatment for wet AMD.
  • Laser therapy: Laser therapy is a procedure that uses a laser to destroy abnormal blood vessels in the macula. It is less effective than anti-VEGF injections, but it may be an option for people who are not candidates for anti-VEGF injections.
  • Photodynamic therapy: Photodynamic therapy is a procedure that uses a light-activated drug to destroy abnormal blood vessels in the macula. It is less effective than anti-VEGF injections, but it may be an option for people who are not candidates for anti-VEGF injections.

Outlook for AMD

The outlook for AMD depends on the type of AMD and the severity of the disease. Dry AMD progresses slowly over time, and most people with dry AMD maintain their vision for many years. However, wet AMD can lead to rapid vision loss, and it is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 50.

There is currently no cure for AMD, but there are treatments that can help to slow the progression of the disease and preserve vision. It is important to see your eye doctor regularly for comprehensive eye exams to detect AMD early and to get the treatment you need to protect your vision.

Prevention of AMD

There is no sure way to prevent AMD, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing the disease, including:

  • Quit smoking: Smoking is the single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of AMD.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may help to reduce your risk of AMD.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity is associated with an increased risk of AMD.
  • Control your blood pressure: High blood pressure is associated with an increased risk of AMD.
  • Control your cholesterol: High cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of AMD.
  • Manage your diabetes: Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of AMD.
  • Wear sunglasses: Wearing sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays may help to protect your macula from damage.

Age-related macular degeneration is a common eye disease that can lead to vision loss. There is currently no cure for AMD, but there are treatments that can help to slow the progression of the disease and preserve vision. It is important to see your eye doctor regularly for comprehensive eye exams to detect AMD early and to get the treatment you need to protect your vision.

Age related Macular Degeneration: Diagnosis Symptoms and Treatment An Overview (Ophthalmology No 1)
Age-related Macular Degeneration: Diagnosis, Symptoms and Treatment, An Overview (Ophthalmology series No. 1)
by Adolph Barr

4.2 out of 5

Language : English
File size : 2307 KB
Text-to-Speech : Enabled
Screen Reader : Supported
Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
Print length : 73 pages
Lending : Enabled
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Age related Macular Degeneration: Diagnosis Symptoms and Treatment An Overview (Ophthalmology No 1)
Age-related Macular Degeneration: Diagnosis, Symptoms and Treatment, An Overview (Ophthalmology series No. 1)
by Adolph Barr

4.2 out of 5

Language : English
File size : 2307 KB
Text-to-Speech : Enabled
Screen Reader : Supported
Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
Print length : 73 pages
Lending : Enabled
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