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Understanding AMD

Created on: Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Everyday hundreds of patients are diagnosed with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) in the United States. AMD is the leading cause of legal blindness in Americans over the age of sixty-five. The macula is responsible for our sharp central, detail vision which we use to read, see colors and safely drive a car. The damage and deterioration to this area of the retina creates distortion and a blindspot in the center of a person’s vision which makes it very difficult for a person to read, see faces, and see to do other daily activities.

There are many risk factors which have been identified for developing AMD. These include: age, fair skin and light colored eyes, family history of AMD, smoking, lifetime sunlight exposure, farsightedness, cardiovascular disease, and high cholesterol. Macular degeneration can be in two different forms, “dry” and “wet”.

The “dry” form of macular degeneration is a slowly progressive vision loss that results from a deterioration of the macular region. Dry macular degeneration is usually a much slower loss than the “wet” type. However, some of those with “dry” AMD will develop “wet” AMD.

Many research studies are being conducted for possible treatments and cures of AMD. The Age-related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) was the first multi-center study that proved that nutritional supplements in high doses may decrease the risk for further vision loss from macular degeneration. Before beginning any nutritional supplement regime, it is important to consult your eye care professional.

The “wet” type of macular degeneration is much more serious and visually threatening. “Wet” AMD occurs when the retina forms abnormal blood vessels to supply the macula which can cause hemorrhaging and scarring. Avastin and Lucentis have been used to slow and stop the progression of AMD. These drugs are injected directly into the eye. Wet AMD that is caught early and treated leads to less scarring of the macula and better vision for the patient long term. Therefore, it is imperative to monitor your vision and have regular dilated eye examinations.

Please call our office at 610-384-9100 to schedule an appointment today.



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