Management of Ocular Disease
Untreated macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in those over 65 years old.
While researchers have not yet discovered a cure for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), there are treatment options which prevent the disease from progressing to blindness, and in some cases, they can even improve vision. It’s important to have an open discussion with your eye doctor about the risks and limitations of AMD treatments.
Types of Macular Degeneration:
There are 2 basic types of AMD, the wet form and the dry form.
- Dry macular degeneration is considered the less aggressive form of AMD. It typically progresses much more slowly, and the level of eyesight damage is less severe. Dry AMD is detected during routine eye exams, which is why it’s important to have yearly testing. Treating Dry AMD often involves high doses of zinc and antioxidants which have been shown to slow diseases progression.
- Wet macular degeneration is the more severe form of AMD. It occurs when there is abnormal blood vessel growth (angiogenesis), and leakage, which can cause scar tissue to develop. Treatments include laser surgery, injecting light sensitive dyes, or AMD medication injected directly into the eye to inhibit angiogenesis.
Symptoms of macular degeneration:
- Early macular degeneration may cause little, if any noticeable change in vision.
- Difficulty reading without extra light and magnification.
- Seeing objects as distorted or blurred, or abnormal in shape, size or color.
- The perception that objects “jump” when you try to look right at them.
- Difficulty seeing to read or drive.
- Inability to see details.
- Blind spot in center of vision.
Causes of or contributing factors to macular degeneration:
The root causes of macular degeneration are still unknown. Women are at a slightly higher risk than men. Caucasians are more likely to develop macular degeneration than African Americans.
- Age: Macular degeneration is the leading cause of decreased vision in people over 65 years of age.
- Heredity: Macular degeneration appears to be hereditary in some families but not in others.
- Long-term sun exposure.
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
- Nutritional deficiencies.
AMD is an age related eye disease that runs in families, and is a leading cause of blindness in our aging population. There is no cure for this ocular disease, and AMD related vision loss is cannot usually be recovered. There are treatments, and preventative measures that can be taken, if detected early, so routine eye exams are essential.
Read more about macular degeneration symptoms and treatment.