Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is a common condition that generally affects people aged 50 and above. While it doesn’t cause total loss of sight, it can dramatically reduce how well you see—and therefore negatively impact your quality of life.
There are two types of AMD: wet and dry. Depending on the type, the condition can progress slowly—over many years‑or very quickly, in a matter of months or even weeks.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration FAQs
- What is age-related macular degeneration?
- What causes age-related macular degeneration?
- What are the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration?
- How is age-related macular degeneration treated?
What is age-related macular degeneration?
AMD is a condition that affects an area of the eye, called the macular, which is part of the retina. This is responsible for central vision. There are two types of AMD, wet and dry.
In both types, waste deposits, called drusen, build up on the macula, causing damage. In dry AMD, this tends to increase over many years. Wet AMD, on the other hand, also includes fluid buildup around the retina, which leads to a much faster progression.
AMD can affect one or both eyes.
What causes age-related macular degeneration?
AMD is yet to be fully understood. It’s thought to be linked to genetics, high blood pressure, smoking, and obesity.
What are the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration?
The initial stages of AMD may be asymptomatic. As the disease progresses, the following are common symptoms:
- A blurred or distorted area in the center of your vision. As the condition worsens, this might result in gaps in your central vision, rather like a black spot where you can’t see anything.
- Straight lines appear to be wavy
- Colors appear muted or faded
- Objects appear to be smaller than normal
How is age-related macular degeneration treated?
There is no definitive cure for dry AMD. However, there are plenty of lifestyle changes (diet, supplements) and visual aids that can help you live with the condition.
Wet AMD is treated with eye injections, and/or a process known as photodynamic therapy/laser surgery.
- Eye injections: This is a highly successful treatment, stopping the condition from progressing in around 90% of cases. Around 30% of people benefit from an active level of recovery where their vision improves. Successive injections will need to be given every month or so. Your ophthalmologist will determine the exact interval and the number of treatments needed.
- Photodynamic therapy/laser surgery: This targets blood vessels that might have formed behind the retina. Depending on the progression, this will either involve sealing or destroying them.
The key to the best AMD therapy is early diagnosis, careful monitoring, and the correct treatment and/or aids to help manage the condition.
A great deal of research continues to be invested in the understanding and treatment of both wet and dry AMD. Ensuring that you entrust your vision to an expert AMD ophthalmologist will be crucial in ensuring that when new, cutting-edge treatments are available, you’re in the hands of a professional who’ll be able to either carry them out or is aware that they’re available and be able to refer you.
Partner with the WBEC for the Ultimate Diagnosis, Monitoring & Treatment of AMD
While aging means that the macular will naturally deteriorate over the years, not everyone will go on to develop full-blown AMD. However, the potential is there—indeed, everyone over the age of 50 is pretty much guaranteed to have some deterioration of the retina.
That’s why it’s vital to have regular eye checks, no matter what age you might be. At the West Boca Eye Center, we offer the very latest AMD treatments, as well as definitive diagnosis and monitoring.
Find out more at https://westbocaeyecenter.com/services/macular-degeneration/ and call today to book an appointment.