Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
is a problem with your retina. It happens when the central part of the retina called the macula is damaged. With AMD you lose your central vision. You cannot see fine details close or far. But your side vision will remain normal. For instance, imagine you are looking at a clock with hands. With AMD, you might see the clock’s numbers but not the hands.
Who Is at Risk for AMD?
You are more likely to develop AMD if you:
are over 50 years old
have a family history of AMD
are Caucasian (white)
high cholesterol levels
There are two types of AMD:
About 80% of people who have AMD have the more common dry form. Dry AMD is when parts of the macula get thinner with age and tiny clumps of debris called drusen grow. You slowly lose central vision.
Dry AMD treatment
Right now, there is no way to treat the dry form of AMD. However people with lots of drusen or serious vision loss might benefit from taking a certain combination of nutritional supplements. A large study found those people may slow their dry AMD by taking these vitamins and minerals daily:
Vitamin C (500 mg)
Vitamin E (400 IU)
Lutein (10 mg)
Zeaxanthin (2 mg)
Zinc (80 mg)
Copper (2 mg)
Your ophthalmologist can tell you if vitamins and minerals are recommended for your dry AMD.
This form is less common but much more serious. Wet AMD is when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels may leak blood or other fluids, causing swelling and ultimately, scarring of the macula. You lose vision faster with wet AMD than with dry AMD.
Many people don’t realize they have AMD until their vision is very blurry. This is why it is important to have regular visits to an ophthalmologist. We can look for early signs of AMD before you have any vision problems.
Please call now to schedule an appointment to be evaluated for AMD.
Your doctor may do fluorescein angiography to see what is happening with your retina. Yellow dye (called fluorescein) is injected into a vein, usually in your arm. The dye travels through your blood vessels. A special camera takes photos of the retina as the dye travels throughout its blood vessels. This shows if abnormal new blood vessels are growing under the retina.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is another way to look closely at the retina. A machine scans the retina and provides very detailed images of the retina and macula.
Wet AMD treatment
To help treat wet AMD, there are medications called anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) drugs (Avastin, Lucentis, Eylea). Anti-VEGF treatment helps reduce the number of abnormal blood vessels in your retina and prevent them from leaking fluid or blood. This medicine is delivered to your eye through a very slender needle injection under aseptic (clean) conditions.