Treating Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Health & Medical Blog

It started with blurry vision, followed by needing more light to read. Now you notice that objects in your central vision are difficult to focus on. Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, affects the retina and can cause partial or complete blindness when severe. The disease cannot be prevented, but the vision loss can be slowed down. Here is what you need to know about this debilitating eye disease and how it is treated.

Two Forms of AMD

There are two variations of AMD, but both affect the retina and can result in permanent vision loss.

Wet AMD - New blood vessels that have weak walls grow on the back of the eye. Fluid leaks out of these weak vessels on the surface of the eye over the retina. The fluid blocks the light from striking the retina, making it difficult to focus on objects. You'll need more light to see clearly as the fluid collects on the retina.

Dry AMD - This form of the disease deposits a dry, yellow substance on the retina in an area called the macula. This area of the eye contains the cells responsible for your central vision. As the substance collects on the retina, dark spots appear in your vision. Eventually, you can lose all of your central vision.

Treating AMD

Age-related macular degeneration can be slowed down, but it cannot be stopped once it has begun. Early diagnosis of the disease allows treatment to begin and slow down the vision loss. The type of treatment depends on the form of AMD you develop.

Treating Wet AMD

This treatment focuses on preventing the development of the weak blood vessels. One approach is to inject a medication into the eye which slows down the growth of these blood vessels. You may need to have this treatment done periodically to keep the blood vessels under control.

Another treatment involves injecting a substance into your blood stream which makes its way into the eye. Your eye doctor shines a special light in your eye which activates the substance and causes the weak blood vessels to shrink. This may also need to be repeated.

Laser surgery is a recent technique used to cause the weak vessels in the eye to collapse. The damaged blood vessels are eventually absorbed by the body.

Treating Dry AMD

Treating this form of AMD is done carefully as it can increase your risk of developing wet AMD. One approach is to make changes to your diet. Foods containing the vitamins A, C and E and the minerals zinc and copper can slow down the formation of the dry substance over the macula.

When the loss of central vision becomes severe, an artificial lens can be embedded in the eye to improve it. While this doesn't affect the disease, it can restore some of your central vision lost to it.

Your ophthalmologist may recommend laser surgery to remove some of the dry deposit. This may improve your vision, but it does increase the risk of wet AMD.


25 April 2016

Help Others Make Health Decisions when They Cannot

One day I was playing a game of basketball with a friend, and the friend I was playing ball with tripped and took a hard fall to the ground. He hit his head hard, but he insisted he was okay and just wanted to go home and take a nap. I knew in my heart that he was not thinking clearly, and I didn't feel right letting him go home. I talked him into letting me take him to the hospital, and after some tests, it was determined he had a bad concussion. The doctors told me that if I had let him go home and sleep, things could have taken a turn for the worse. I created this blog to remind everyone to look out for each other after injuries. Not everyone thinks clearly after a head injury, and just being a good friend could save a life.