One of the most common eye problems usually observed among older adults is age-related macular degeneration, and it often impacts the central field of your vision. Generally, age-related macular degeneration occurs due to fatty deposits accumulating in the eye, hindering its capacity to process light.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Even though vision impairment from this disease occurs gradually, keep in mind that it can ultimately lead to limiting your ability to drive, read, or even identify faces of people who are familiar to you. In this article, we will discuss age-related macular degeneration in detail.
See Also: Frequently Asked Questions About Vision Health
Causes of Macular Degeneration
Let us first see the major causes that lead to age-related macular degeneration.
Generally, age-related macular degeneration is commonly observed and is one of the major causes of severe vision damage in adults over 60. Therefore, age can be considered as one of the main causes of this disease.
Another common cause of macular degeneration is hereditary. Therefore, you need to be cautious if anyone in your family has the condition because, in such cases, your risk of developing macular degeneration gets higher.
Other common causes of developing macular degeneration are having high cholesterol or high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, consuming high amounts of saturated fat, and having a light eye color.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
Most commonly observed symptoms of macular degeneration include:
- Worse or compromised vision. This means that your vision may become blurry, and you may find it hard to drive or read the fine print
- You can spot blurry, dark areas in the center of your vision field
- You can also experience different or worse color perception rarely
If you happen to experience any of the symptoms described above, make sure to go to an eye doctor at the earliest.
How Is Macular Degeneration Diagnosed?
Age-related macular degeneration can be spotted with a routine eye exam. Drusen which are tiny yellow spots under your retina or pigment clumping is one of the most common early signs. They can be seen during an examination of your eye by your doctor.
Your doctor can also ask you to focus your eyes on an Amsler grid. This is a pattern of straight lines that look a lot like a checkerboard. You may notice some of the straight lines to be wavy, and some might disappear. These might be signs of macular degeneration.
Treatments Available for Macular Degeneration
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this eye problem. Treatment can only slow it down or help to preserve the vision left. Different treatment methods for macular degeneration are:
- Anti-angiogenesis drugs: This category of medications works by blocking the formation of blood vessels in your eye and preventing leaking from the blood vessels situated in your eye, leading to wet macular degeneration. Even though you might have to take this treatment more than once, several people who’ve taken these drugs report having got back their lost vision.
- Laser therapy: This treatment method uses laser technology. In this method, high-energy laser light is used to destroy the growth of abnormal blood vessels in your eye. As per research, laser photocoagulation treatment has been capable of minimizing the area of drusen in patients with AMD
- Photodynamic laser therapy: In this process, your eye doctor injects a light-sensitive medicine called verteporfin (Visudyne) into your bloodstream. This drug gets absorbed by the blood vessels that show abnormal characteristics. After that, the doctor glows a laser beam into your eye, which triggers the medication to destroy those blood vessels.
- Low vision aids: Low vision aids can also be used as a part of the treatment, improving your vision. These devices have electronic systems or special lenses that can generate larger images of nearby objects. Low vision aids help people suffering from vision loss due to macular degeneration make the most of their remaining vision.
Apart from these treatments, here are some new experimental treatments for macular degeneration the researchers have come forward with recently.:
- Submacular surgery: Your doctor may suggest submacular surgery as an option if your AMD doesn’t respond to other treatments. This surgery is performed to remove abnormal blood vessels or blood in the eye. This surgery is focused on removing the lesions of an abnormal blood vessel, scar tissue, and any unusual bleeding below the retina.
- Retinal translocation: This process destroys any abnormal blood vessels present below the central portion of the macula. It is difficult for your doctor to use a laser beam safely in these areas. Your doctor will rotate the macula's center away from the abnormal blood vessels and toward a healthy retina area. This helps avoid scar tissue and further damage to the retina. Then, your doctor treats the abnormal blood vessels using the laser.
See Also: Corneal Transplant Surgery: Procedure, Types, Recovery, and Rejection.
If you see any symptoms of age-related macular degeneration, make sure to seek medical help immediately because the earlier you get the treatment, the more successful your doctor will be to prevent further vision loss. If you are looking for an eye hospital in Kolkata for your eye treatment, the professionals at Netralayam can help you. Give us a call.