What is Macular Degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs when the small, central part of the retina, called the macula, deteriorates. With AMD you may lose your central vision and have difficulty seeing fine details. AMD by itself does not cause complete blindness as your peripheral (side) vision will not be affected.
What are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?
If you’re in the early stages of age-related macular degeneration you may not have symptoms. As the condition progresses, you may notice:
- Visual distortion (such as straight lines seeming bent)
- Reduced central vision in one or both eyes
- Blurry vision
- Trouble adjusting to low-light settings
What are the Types of Macular Degeneration?
There are two types of AMD: Dry AMD (the most common type) and Wet AMD.
By far the most common type, about 80% of people who have AMD have the dry form. Dry AMD occurs when there is an accumulation of drusen, a yellow deposit that forms beneath the retina. Drusen may initially be harmless but over time can result in retinal degeneration and in the loss of central vision.
This form of AMD is less common but much more serious. Wet AMD occurs when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels may leak blood or other fluids, causing scarring of the macula.
How is Macular Degeneration Treated?
Today, there is no cure for macular degeneration. The goal of treatment is to slow down the disease and stabilize it so you do not lose your vision.
Certain people with dry AMD might benefit from taking a combination of nutritional supplements. This supplement is called AREDS2, which is a special combination of vitamins and minerals that have been shown to slow the progressions of the condition. An eye exam is necessary to determine if AREDS2 is right for you.
To help treat wet AMD, there are medications called anti-VEGF medications. In certain people, treatment with anti-VEGF will improve vision.
Again, regular exams with your Mann Eye retina specialist Dr. Mohsenin is the best way to make sure your AMD is monitored and controlled. /if you have AMD, you will be happy to know that Dr. Mohsenin has a particular passion for AMD. In his previous role as a medical school professor, Dr. Mohsenin directed an NIH-funded research laboratory dedicated to macular degeneration research. His PhD training in biochemistry and molecular biology coupled with his understanding of AMD at the molecular level give him a perspective not commonly seen in retina specialists.