Understanding AMD and retinal disease
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) disease affects the macular, which is the central part of the retina that helps people maintain sharp vision. The health of macular determines everyone’s ability to recognize faces, read, watch, and perform all tasks related to visual work. Complete blindness is very rare with AMD. A person with AMD loses central vision but maintains side vision.
AMD is currently the main cause of vision loss in many countries in Europe and America. The disease and its severity increase with an increase in age. When AMD occurs in both eyes, it affects each eye differently.
Types of AMD
There are two types of AMD: Dry AMD and Wet AMD.
- Dry AMD – Dry AMD is also known as non-exudative AMD. It IS the most common form of AMD, and it affects almost 90% of all AMD patients. Dry AMD occurs as a result of the accumulation of proteins in the macular, which makes cells in the area to stop functioning. The protein deposits in the macula are known as drusen. Patients suffering from dry AMD go through a slow, painless vision loss over a period.
- Wet AMD – Wet AMD is also called the exudative AMD. It’s a more serious case of AMD. However, it affects about 10% only of the total AMD cases. The reason why it is more threatening is that it is caused by leaking blood vessels in the retina. Patients suffering from wet AMD experience faster sight loss as compared to those suffering from dry AMD. Unlike dry AMD that can be noticed early enough, wet AMD is noticed at advanced staged in most cases.
Symptoms of macular degeneration
In the initial stages of AMD, one experiences shadow or a distorted vision in the central part of the eye. In some cases, patients notice wavy words when reading. Other symptoms include glare sensitivity and having a hard time seeing details in a poorly lit area. Many people never notice these symptoms, especially when AMD is affecting only one eye.
Causes of AMD
AMD is majorly associated with aging. However, some researchers state that there may be a genetic component to it. Many researchers also believe that when one is exposed to the sunlight too much, they may end up developing AMD.
The main risk factors to AMD include:
- Gender- it affects more women
- Lack of activity and obesity
- However, among all the risk factors, the most consistent ones are aging and smoking.
When to see a doctor?
If you notice that there are changes in your central vision, see a doctor immediately. Also, if you are over 65 years and above, you should have an annual eye checkup so that if AMD is developing it can be noticed early enough. Doctors easily detect AMD early enough before patients have any signs. When detected early, your doctor can dilate your eye to ensure that the macula is evacuated.
If you already have AMD have an examination with an experienced eye expert who has specialized in vision rehabilitation. Experts help reduce the danger and ensure that you have maximum functioning.
You can also practice a healthy diet, regular exercising, and wearing sunglasses to protect yourself from the harmful UV rays.
A proper cure for AMD is yet to be found, however, doctors use other forms of treatments to delay the progression of the disease as well as improve vision. The treatment for AMD is determined by whether the wet AMD is in the advanced staged, or whether the dry AMD is in its early stages. For the case of dry AMD, there is no approved medication. Patients are provided with supplements that help reduce the progression rate.
The case of wet AMD is different. The main goal of treatment in wet AMD is to stop the growth of blood vessels in the retina or leakage of fluids in the retina. Treatment includes injecting medication into the affected eye.