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Age-Related Macular Degeneration - AMD

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among Americans over the age of 65. It is a condition marked by deterioration of the macula, the portion of the retina responsible for central, sharp vision. The macula is a layer of tissue located in the center of the retina.

More than 1.75 million Americans suffer from AMD. By the year 2020, it is estimated that this figure will reach 3 million.

Learn How to Recognize the Early Signs of Macular Degeneration, How to Prevent Macular Degeration and When do Age Related Vision Changes Begin to Occur?


Causes of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Macular DegenerationAMD develops as your eye ages. The disorder first develops in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a layer of cells behind the retina near the back wall of the eye.

Your macula is made up of millions of light-sensitive cells called rods and cones. There are two segments to rods and cones. The inner segment produces proteins that respond to light, while the outer segment stores and uses these proteins.

As the outer segment proteins absorb light, they wear out and are removed as waste. The inner segments are responsible for replacing the degraded outer segments with fresh segments. The RPE cells are responsible for removing used outer segments.

Over time, your RPE cells will start to degenerate, reducing their ability to remove outer segment waste. This causes yellow, fat-like deposits to form under the rods and cones. This ultimately leads to a deterioration of your vision.

Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Generally, AMD will result in a gradual and painless loss of vision. The symptoms of AMD include:

  • Shadowy areas in your central vision
  • Unusually fuzzy or distorted vision
  • A need for very bright light for reading or other close vision activities
  • Difficulty adapting to low light levels
  • Blurriness of printed words
  • Decrease in the intensity or brightness of colors
  • Difficulty recognizing faces
  • Learn more about Macular Degeneration Symptoms

Detection/Diagnosis

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)Age-related macular degeneration can be diagnosed by the following tests:

  • Eye examination
  • Angiography
  • Indocyanine green angiography
  • Optical coherence tomography

Treatment of Macular Degeneration

macular degenerationThere is currently no known treatment that will reverse the effects of age-related macular degeneration. However, there are certain treatments that can slow its progression.

In its early stages, AMD can be treated with high doses of vitamin supplements, including:

  • 500 mg of vitamin C
  • 400 IU of vitamin E
  • 15 mg of beta carotene
  • 80 mg of zinc oxide
  • 2 mg of copper

In more advanced stages of AMD, certain drugs can be used to prevent the formation of abnormal blood vessels under the macula which are responsible for rapid vision deterioration. These drugs include:

  • Lucentis
  • Macugen
  • Visudyne

 

It is important to go to your ophthalmologist for regular macular degeneration screenings after age 45. Please contact an eye doctor near you today to schedule an eye exam.

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