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
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
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 :
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
Lifestyle modification, e.g. cessation of smoking.
Intake of nutritional supplements rich in Vitamins (C & E), Zinc, Copper,
Lutein, and Zeaxanthin helps in slowing the vision loss caused due to AMD.
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.
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
*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.