What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and do I have it?

Fri Nov 19 2021

Macular Degeneration, also known as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), is a common eye condition characterised by the deterioration of a portion of the retina known as the macula. As the macula is located right in the retina’s centre, its degeneration leads to the loss of central vision (i.e., what you see when you look straight ahead).

This condition occurs most commonly in those above 55 years of age; however, certain factors such as smoking, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, being overweight, and having a family history of the disease can increase your chances of developing it.

Different types of macular degeneration and their causes

There are two main types of Macular Degeneration – wet and dry. Wet Macular Degeneration is caused when abnormal blood vessels develop between the retina and macula. This impacts the macula’s ability to convey visual information to your brain. Dry Macular Degeneration occurs when drusen (small yellow deposits) are formed under the macula. 

Symptoms of macular degeneration

Macular Degeneration is classified as a progressive disease, and this means that it gets worse over time. Its symptoms can vary slightly based on the type of Macular Degeneration you are suffering from; however, most doctors state that initial vision loss caused by this disease is not noticeable by patients. This is why it is essential to schedule regular eye checkups with your doctor to ensure that they can nip any developing conditions in the bud.

Symptoms of dry macular degeneration include:

  • rouble recognising faces
  • Trouble with central vision
  • Distortion of straight lines in your field of vision
  • Blurriness Difficulty adapting to low light
  • An increased need for bright lights
  • Retinal damage

Symptoms of wet macular degeneration include:

  • Blurry spots in the field of vision
  • Distortions with central vision
  • Hazy vision in general
  • A dark spot in the field of vision (generally caused by blood leaking from the vessels in the retina)
  • A rapid decline in vision

How is macular degeneration treated?

The treatment for Macular Degeneration varies depending on the type of Macular Degeneration you may be suffering from.

Doctors may prescribe a type of medicine known as anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) drugs for wet macular degeneration. These prevent the growth of new blood vessels on the retina and thereby stop the condition from worsening. Your doctor may also suggest photodynamic therapy – during this, where a laser is used to seal up leaking vessels. To destroy blood vessels on the retina, your doctor may suggest Photocoagulation, a treatment in which a high-energy laser beam is used to break down blood vessels. Keep in mind that apart from the anti-VEGF drugs, none of these treatments are preventative in nature – which means that they will not stop new vessels from forming.

For dry macular degeneration, your doctor may conduct surgery to implant a telescopic lens in your eye to replace the natural lens.

Irrespective of which type of macular degeneration you have, your doctor will also ask you to work with a low-vision rehabilitation therapist who will help you adapt to your new vision. This is a crucial step as it can help you enjoy a higher quality of life.

Why choose CFS for macular degeneration treatments?

CFS is one of the leading eye clinics in India, with a strong presence in almost every major city. Our experts are well-versed with the latest and most innovative treatments for macular degeneration, and can help prevent further loss of vision. Our high-tech diagnostic labs can help catch diseases before the symptoms worsen, thereby preventing the loss of vision with time.

Article: What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and do I have it?

Author: CFS Editorial Team   |   Nov 19 2021 | UPDATED 01:00 IST

*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his privatecapacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.

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