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AMD- The Basics on Age-Related Macular Degeneration

What is age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?

Macular degeneration is an eye disease that affects a person’s central and colour vision. It is a deterioration of the part of the eye called the macula. The macula is a small part of the retina, which is the light-sensing tissue at the back of the eye.

AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in older patients. It may affect one or both eyes. A person with AMD does not go fully blind as they do keep their peripheral vision. As it gets worse it affects patient’s ability to read, drive and recognize their loved ones.

What are the types of AMD?

- The first is called DRY AMD. This is the more common type and is usually slow to progress. This causes the light sensitive cells in the macula to get thin and die
- The second is called WET AMD. This occurs when new blood vessels grow and damage the macula. These vessels are weak and leak into the macular which causes scarring
- A form of macular degeneration that is found in young patient is called Stargardt’s disease, which is a genetic condition

What are the symptoms of AMD?

-In early stages, there may be no symptoms at all
-trouble seeing in low light
-blur in central vision
-missing spots in vision
-noticing that straight lines are now wavy/crooked

Who is at risk of getting AMD?

-those with a family history of AMD
-smokers
-those with a poor diet and/or overweight
-those over 50 years old
-causations
-those with cardiovascular disease/high blood pressure

Treatment of AMD

-Use of supplements which include antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein
-Injections or lasers into the eye which block the blood vessels from leaking in wet AMD
-Low vision aids – such as the Orcam – which is a form of assistive technology that can read and recognize faces for the user

To learn more about AMD and the treatments available, please click here.