AMD is one of the leading causes of visual impairment
According to the National Eye Institute, AMD is one of the leading causes of visual impairment in people aged 50 and older. This is mostly due to the fact that age-related macular degeneration has no noticeable symptoms from the outset.
Getting a regular, comprehensive eye exam will help save your vision from AMD and other silent eye diseases. At Focus Eye Care & Surgery, our board-certified New York eye specialist, Dr. Neelofar Ghaznawi, performs a thorough evaluation to achieve accurate diagnosis. This helps her develop a treatment plan with you so your needs and lifestyle are addressed. Dr. Ghaznawi is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
FAQs about Age related macular degeneration AMD
The macula is responsible for the eyes’ sharp, central vision. It is located in the retina, the lining at the back of the eyes sensitive to incoming light rays. When the macula is damaged, you won’t be able to see clearly straight ahead and up close. Seeing fine details, recognizing faces, reading, and driving are some of the things you will have difficulty doing.
Total vision loss from AMD is rare. The side or peripheral vision remains intact.
Wet AMD arises when new, abnormal blood vessels leak blood and cause scarring of the macula. If caught early, wet AMD can be treated, but vision loss happens much faster than dry AMD.
Dry AMD develops when the macula thins as it ages. Cellular debris made of lipid and proteins (called drusen) grow under the retina. Dry AMD progresses slowly but could lead to wet AMD.
Eight out of ten people who get AMD have the dry type, while the rest have the wet type. Dry AMD is not reversible at present.
Macular degeneration generally develops slowly over time. In its early stages, dry AMD has no symptoms, which is why it is vital to undergo regular comprehensive eye exams to prevent serious visual impairment.
In its intermediate and advanced stages, AMD presents as:
– straight lines appearing crooked or wavy
– vision problems in low light
– mild blurriness in central vision
– blank spots in your field of vision
– colors appearing muted
A quick, simple test could alert you to changes in your vision when you suspect you have AMD. The tool is called Amsler Grid, with a dot in the center. People with normal vision should be able to focus on the dot and see all the other small squares normally. People with AMD would see dark, wavy, or blurry lines in some areas of the grid.
To slow down leaking from blood vessels, an injectable anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) is delivered to the eye via a slim needle. Anti-VEGF has also been shown to reduce the number of abnormal blood vessels in the retina.
A high energy laser beam is focused onto the retina to seal the leaking blood vessels. Sealing also prevents new growth of abnormal blood vessels.
Some blurring of the central vision may still be observed, depending on how close the leaking blood vessels are to the macula.
Age-related macular degeneration progresses over a period of 10 years from an early to an advanced state. Macular degeneration cannot be cured completely, but early diagnosis is important to slow down or even stop the progression of macular degeneration.
No, age-related macular degeneration is not the same as presbyopia and does not affect everyone. But you are at increased risk of developing macular degeneration if you are a smoker, over the age of 65, and have a family history of macular degeneration. Studies report that there is an increasing prevalence of age-related macular degeneration over the past few years.
Yes, early treatment can slow or even stop macular degeneration from progressing to its advanced stages. Not all patients with macular degeneration progress to the advanced stages, and even those with advanced-stage macular degeneration do not suffer from complete blindness. Macular degeneration results in a loss of central vision, while the peripheral vision may be intact.
Age-related macular degeneration typically affects people in their 50s or 60s. But, it takes at least a decade for age-related macular degeneration to progress to advanced stages.
There are different stages through which macular degeneration progresses: early, intermediate, and late stages. Early Stage: In early-stage AMD, there are usually no symptoms and incidentally is only discovered upon routine eye examination. Only about 15% of early-stage AMD eventually progress to intermediate-stage AMD. Intermediate Stage: Symptoms such as subtle changes in vision may be noticed during intermediate-stage AMD; 6.3% cases of intermediate AMD can progress to late-stage AMD. Late Stage: In late-stage AMD, central vision loss can occur, and the patient may have significant issues with recognizing other people. Depending on whether the AMD is wet or dry type, the speed of progression to central vision loss can vary.
While diet alone cannot cure or treat macular degeneration, it can be a beneficial adjunct to improve overall eye health and slow macular degeneration from progressing further. Diets rich in vitamins C and E, such as yellow fruits or dark green leafy vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids can help slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration to advanced stages.
No, macular degeneration cannot be reversed once it has occurred. But several treatment options are available that can slow or stop the progression of macular degeneration.
Multiple clinical studies have shown that antioxidants and minerals such as beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, zinc, and copper can be beneficial for slowing the progression of intermediate-stage AMD to late-stage AMD. Based on these study findings, an AREDS2 formula containing vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc, copper, lutein, omega-3 fatty acids, and zeaxanthin can be given as supplements to slow the progression of macular degeneration.