Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?

There are many layers of tiny cells present in Macula. As we grow older, these tiny cells do not function adequately. If they do not, then there is high probability of deposits building up in the retina. Also, new blood vessels will grow inside the retina. The new vessels are delicate, and often bleed easily. Under these different conditions, your retina will not function properly. You will have a distorted or blurred vision, and sometimes, no vision. AMD has been identified as a common condition affecting people more than 50 years old. In a few cases, AMD develops slowly, affecting people at a later stage. In other cases, its progression can be evidently faster. When Macula or central portion of your eye deteriorates, the condition is called Macular degeneration. It is medically acknowledged as an incurable eye disease. Under macular degeneration, an individual will not be able to see properly. In severe cases, the person will suffer total vision loss. When macula is damaged, its functioning process of recording the images and sending a brain signal via the optic nerve suffers.

The prevalence of age-related macular degeneration is increasing in Asia due to increase in life expectancy and rising incidents of diabetes among the younger population. As per the Centre for Eye Research Australia, prevalence of diabetic retinopathy among people ranged between 17% and 22% in India, and 43.1% in rural China in 2012. Age-related eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration, are the leading causes of visual impairment and blindness in North America. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 22 million Americans aged 40 and above were affected by cataract and 2.3 million Americans were affected by glaucoma in 2011.

Symptoms

Common signs of this disease include:

  • Blurred vision.
  • Need for more light to read.
  • Reduced appreciate of colors.
  • Difficulty in recognizing faces.
  • Spot in your central vision.

 

Causes

People with certain lifestyle habits are more prone to AMD. Some of the most probable causes include: 

  • Smoking.
  • Diabetes.
  • Obesity.
  • Family history.
  • Growing age.

 

Risks

The main risk factors include:

  • Total vision loss.
  • Blurred vision getting stronger over time as there is a blank spot in the centre portion of the eye.
  • Inability to view brighter images.

 

Prevention

There are certain steps to reduce the risk of AMD which include:

  • Smoking should be avoided.
  • Introduce spinach, fruits & nuts, fish or fish oil, and carbohydrates in your diet.
  • Keep your BP and cholesterol in check.

How is it diagnosed?

At Medanta, following are the tests used to detect the disease: 


 

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How is it treated?

At Medanta, the types of treatment of this disease include: 

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  • Radiotherapy

    This procedure has been used to treat the disease in an effective manner. Radiotherapy in combination with anti-VEGF might be of benefit in reducing the number of injections needed, but its long-term benefits remain unknown..

  • Anti-VEGF medication

    It is a kind of drug used to block the chemical growth in the eye. This medication is injected into the eye under local anaesthesia so that it does not hurt.

  • Aflibercept(Eylea)

    This is a new type of medication required to treat this condition. Common side effects of this medication include: eye irritation, eye pain, minor bleeding, and more.

  • Photodynamic therapy

     It will destroy the blood vessels, and prevent the damage and will stop the macular degeneration from getting worse.

     

  • Laser photocoagulation

    This kind of surgery is suitable if the abnormal blood vessels are not situated close to the fovea. The surgery is performed under local anaesthesia to numb the eye, and it is not painful.

When do I contact the doctor?

Consult a doctor immediately if you experience sudden loss of vision, notice a dark spot in your vision, and view distorted shape of objects.  

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