What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration, or Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), is a medical condition in which your macula, located in the center of eye, begins to deteriorate. As a result you may: have a blind spot in the center of your field of vision, lose the ability to recognize fine details, see objects in a distorted shape, or have trouble distinguishing between different colors.

How do we diagnose AMD?

In its early stages, signs of macular degeneration can go unnoticed. Yet, if you experience any of the signs or symptoms mentioned in the above paragraph, contact your doctor of optometry immediately. In a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist will perform a variety of test to determine if you have macular degeneration or any other eye problems.

How do we treat AMD?

With “dry” macular degeneration, the tissue of the macula gradually becomes thin and stops functioning properly. There is no cure for dry AMD, and any loss in central vision cannot be restored. However, doctors now believe there is a link between nutrition and the progression of dry AMD. Dietary changes favoring low-fat content and dark green leafy vegetables can slow vision loss. Nutritional supplements also may be beneficial.

Less common, “wet” macular degeneration results when fluids leak from newly formed blood vessels under the macula and blur central vision. Vision loss can be rapid and severe. If detected early, “wet” AMD can be treated with laser treatment, which is often called photocoagulation. A highly focused beam of light seals the leaking blood vessels that damage the macula. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) uses a medication injected into the bloodstream, which is then activated with a laser shone into the eye. There is a new therapy available, which has shown some promising results, where a medication is injected into the back of the eye. These are not permanent cures but are used to slow the rate of central vision loss.