One of the most frequent causes of poor vision after age 60 is AMD (age-related macular degeneration). AMD the degradation of the MACULA a small central region in the back of the eye that allows us to view refined images clearly and perform our day to day undertakings.
AMD symptoms involve loss of central vision. While the precise cause is unknown, AMD seems to be associated with aging although heredity, hypertension, blue eyes, cardiovascular disease, and smoking are considered risk factors.
90% of AMD patients have “DRY” AMD that thins the macula and takes several years to progress. Antioxidant vitamins may slow advancement of dry AMD.
10% of AMD is “WET” AMD but unfortunately is the more serious form. In wet AMD, blood vessels develop layers beneath the macula. Permeable fluid and blood bend images or produce central blind spots in the center of your vision. The underlying cause of wet AMD seems to be a protein called “VEGF”.
Treatment of AMD.
a. There is no treatment of DRY AMD but good nutrition and antioxidant macular vitamins could slow progression. Vitamins do not cure AMD, nor can they return lost already vision from AMD
b. WET AMD can be managed with a variety of treatments.
PHOTODYNAMIC TRATMENT (PDT) with PDT lasers.
ANTI-VEGF INTRAVITREAL that slow the production of VEGFs reducing the chance of abnormal blood vessel formation.
SELF MONITORING AMD WITH AN AMSLER GRID.
A very simple test can help you determine if you and developing macular degeneration. It is called an Amsler grid:
In order to self-monitor for macular degeneration focus on the center dot and cover one eye and ask yourself these questions:
Knowing that the lines should be straight
1. Do any look curvy, indistinct or distorted?
2. Do you see missing or dark areas?
3. Are the corners and sides visible?
Then test the other eye.
If you see such findings call your eye care provider right away.
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