Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

The retina is the light sensitive layer at the back of the eye that sends messages from the eye to the brain. The central portion of the retina is the macula which is highly sensitive and produces detailed images in the central field of vision. The macula is important for recognising faces, driving and reading. Macular Degeneration occurs when the macula is damaged.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) generally occurs in patients over the age of 50 years. In the early stages of AMD, yellow deposits called drusen are seen in the retina. THE SYMPTOMS OF VISUAL IMPAIRMENT ARE MILD OR ABSENT IN THIS STAGE. 

As the disease progresses, visual impairment occurs and this stage is called Late AMD. Although the patient develop central vision loss, they typically do not become totally blind.

The main risk factors for AMD are increasing age, smoking, genetic predisposition, diet, cardiovascular diseases and hypertension.

There are 2 types of Late AMD (Dry AMD and Wet AMD):

Dry AMD – The visual loss occurs slowly due to cell death in the macula.

Wet AMD – The visual loss occurs rapidly if left untreated. In Wet AMD, new abnormal vessels grow from underneath the macula which tend to bleed.

What are the common symptoms of AMD?

The disease can start in one eye only. Symptoms include blurred central vision, waviness of the central vision, difficulty in reading or recognising faces. If you have any of these symptoms, please call Northern Eye Specialists (NES) to make an urgent appointment.

What Investigations will be performed to diagnose AMD?

Either all or some of these investigations will be performed at the NES to help in the diagnosis and management of AMD.

  1. Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), scan of the layers of the retina
  2. OCT Angiography, a non-invasive scan of the blood vessels in the retina
  3. Fundus Fluorescein Angiography (FFA), photographs of the retinal vessels performed after injecting a dye in your arm

What are the treatment options available for management of AMD?

Smoking is a reversible risk factor in the management of AMD. It is advisable to quit smoking to prevent progression of the disease. Wet AMD can be treated successfully with intravitreal anti VEGF injections to the eye. Your Doctors at Northern Eye Specialists will discuss in detail about the treatment, risks associated with the treatment and the treatment protocol.

There is a lot of research underway for the treatment of Dry AMD. Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) has found that Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, Copper, Lutein and Zeaxanthin can help slow the progression of AMD. Your Doctor at Northern Eye Specialists will discuss in detail about the same.

Early AMD



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