Macula is the central part of the retina which acts as the functional centre. Macula is responsible for providing a clear vision in the direct line of sight.
With age, the condition of macula may deteriorate. This ailment also called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is more common with people aged 60 & above. In this blog, we will look at the major causes and symptoms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), along with its treatment. But, before that let us understand what AMD is.
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
Macular Degeneration is a vision impairment that causes a gradual deterioration of the macula. Since the impairment is prominent with senior citizens, it is referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
The condition often does not have any symptoms, to begin with, but with progression, it may cause severe visual impairment, even complete blindness. There are two major forms of the disease – dry form of macular degeneration and wet form of macular degeneration.
Dry Macular Degeneration vs. Wet Macular Degeneration
In Dry Macular Degeneration, drusen (yellow deposit) is deposited at the macula. The yellow deposits would cause impairment in vision with growth in size or increase in number. Distorsion of letters is often felt during reading.
Worsening of dry macular degeneration may cause damage to light-sensitive cells in the macula, eventually leading to the death of the cells.
On the other hand, in Wet Macular Degeneration, leaky blood vessels from the choroid which is the layer situated underneath, leak blood and fluid into the retina. This results in loss of central vision.
If not treated on time, bleeding lead to the formation of scars that eventually results in visual impairment or even complete blindness.
Since many of our senior citizens may suffer from dry AMD without any particular symptom, it is advisable to go for an eye check-up at regular intervals.
Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
There are often no symptoms during the early stages of age-related macular degeneration. Sometimes, both eyes may be affected without the patient being aware of it.
Here are the major age-related macular degeneration symptoms:
- Blurry vision affecting quality of vision, e.g. difficulty in driving or reading fine prints
- Problems in recognizing faces
- Eye strain when adapting to low light conditions
- Requirement of constant bright light when reading or performing some activity with close objects
- Dark patches, blurry areas or white-outs appearing in the central area of the visual field
- Dramatic loss of central vision in the affected eye(s)
Visit the Ophthalmologist if you are experiencing any of the above age-related macular degeneration symptoms.
Cause of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Any person above the age of 60 years is potentially at risk. The risk increases in the following circumstances :
- A positive family history
- Caucasian race
- Cardiovascular diseases
Now that we have covered the symptoms and causes of age-related macular degeneration, it is time to look at the treatment modalities.
Treatment of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Treatment will depend on the type and extent of the disease. Modalities include:
a. Lifestyle modification, e.g. cessation of smoking.
b. Intake of nutritional supplements rich in Vitamins (C & E), Zinc, Copper, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin helps in slowing the vision loss caused due to AMD.
c. Intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF drugs are used for the treatment of wet AMD. Anti-VEGF drugs prevent the growth of abnormal blood vessels, thereby helping in improving vision Macugen (pegaptanib), Eylea (aflibercept), and Lucentis (ranibizumab) are some of the commonly used anti-VEGF drugs.
d. Photodynamic Therapy to seal or destroy the leaky blood vessels.
Centre For Sight has highly trained ophthalmologists who can help you in identifying the signs of age-related macular degeneration. Our highly experienced doctors can help in preventing and treating the disease at an early stage.Article: Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – Symptoms & Treatment
Author: CFS Editorial Team | Feb 02 2021 | UPDATED 05:20 IST
*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.