Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
What is Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects the macula, a small area of the retina that is responsible for your central vision. This area allows you to see fine details, read, and drive. Peripheral vision remains intact. AMD usually does not cause complete blindness. People may not notice changes to their vision, while others will notice slow, or rapid, declines in their vision.
Causes of AMD?
The exact cause of AMD is unknown. It is believed that “free radicals” play a role. Specific risk factors are:
- Family History
- Being over 50 years of age
Types of AMD
There are two types of AMD: wet and dry.
Dry is the most common. Approximately 90% of peple with AMD have the dry type. Vision loss is gradual.
Wet is caused by abnormal blood vessel growth. This can cause more rapid and significant vision loss due to fluid or blood leaking from the vessels.
Symptoms of AMD
Some people will not notice any changes in their vision. Other people may notice lines become wavy, distorted, or sometimes loss of vision. This may happen in one or both eyes and not necessarily at the same time.
How is AMD Diagnosed?
Having a thorough eye exam by Dr. Kuczynski will determine if a person has AMD and to what extent.
How is AMD treated?
Antioxidant vitamin supplements have been shown to reduce the progression of AMD. For people without AMD, the benefits of supplements are unknown.
Treatment for wet AMD involves injecting a drug that stops the bleeding and blood vessel growth. The drugs are in a class called, anti-VEGF(vascular endothelial growth factor). The injections can improve vision or slow and in some cases stop progression. There is no cure. Long term treatment is needed in all cases of wet AMD.
Using an Amsler Grid can help monitor your vision for any changes. A person looks at the center of the Grid and covers one eye at a time. If changes are notice, Dr. Kuczynski should be called immediately.