Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration (AMD)


What is Macular Degeneration (AMD)? 

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition that causes damage to the area in the centre of the retina known as the Macular. This area is responsible for seeing fine details – such as reading, so macular degeneration can make day to day activities
very difficult.

There are two types of AMD;

1. Dry AMD – this is the most common form. Loss of vision occurs slowly and usually less severely.

2. Wet AMD – this occurs when abnormal blood vessels underneath the retina become ‘leaky’ and result in what is called ‘fluid’ under and inside the retina. This can cause rapid reduction of vision.

AMD      AMD wet

General health changes

It is very important to stop smoking as this is known to increase the risk of AMD developing and progressing.

There are a number of multivitamin supplements based on a very large medical trial known as AREDSII and your doctor will discuss if these may be helpful for you in helping reduce the rate of progression of the disease.

Treatments 

There is currently no treatment for Dry AMD although there is research going on in this area.

Treatment for wet AMD needs to be started quickly once the condition is diagnosed and is given in the form of special injections into the eye known as intravitreal injections. The drugs injected are part of a group of drugs known as anti-VEGF medicines. These are very successful at either stabilising the condition and can also improve vision if used early enough in the disease.

These are special injections and most people experience only minimal discomfort from the procedure. Injections usually have to be given a number of times in the year and possibly for some years ahead, to keep the condition stable. Your doctor will explain what is needed for
your eye.

Help with vision

Vision aids and other practical support can be very helpful and there are a number of Apps to help minimise the impact of reduced vision on day to day activities. The Macular Society is a very helpful source of information and support.

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