Can Macular Degeneration be Halted or Cured?
Age-related macular degeneration is the no.1 cause of vision loss in people over 60 years old in the Western world. Yikes! Our lead optometrist, Mai Monavar, gives us a quick rundown about AMD, its treatments, and what can help prevent it.
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
It's pretty much all in the name – the macula is a small portion of the retina (responsible for our clearest, central vision) that deteriorates over time as one gets older. Frustratingly then, people who are affected by AMD usually experience distortion or loss of their central vision (sometimes characterised by dark areas). This makes a lot of tasks very difficult, even recognising faces can be challenging, however the peripheral vision is not affected and there is no pain with AMD.
There are two types of macular degeneration: dry, and wet. Dry AMD is far more common. It develops much more gradually, and often results in less vision loss than the wet form. Wet AMD occurs in roughly 10-15% of all AMD cases, can develop rapidly and usually has a greater effect on vision.
So, how is it treated?
Wet AMD is usually treated in hospital with an injection or laser therapy, which aims to slow or stop the progression of leaky, abnormal blood vessels from growing into the macula. Dry AMD currently has no treatment, however the AREDS studies have proven that particular nutritional supplements can be effective in maintaining the health of the macula, and slowing the progression of AMD.
How can AMD be prevented?
The biggest thing you can do to reduce the risk of developing AMD is to stop smoking. Smokers are 4 times more likely to develop AMD, so cessation will dramatically reduce your chances of developing it.
Having regular eye examinations are essential for detecting the early signs of AMD, and reducing the risk of vision loss. Need a general eye consultation? Book an appointment and speak with an optometrist from your phone or desktop right here on Eyebou!