Two forms of age-related macular degeneration

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Today, macular degeneration is quite common in the United States that one out of twenty seven Americans suffer from different degrees of the disease in their lifetime and one out of one hundred and twenty Americans will realize undiagnosed vision impairment due to this disease. Actually, macular degeneration has been the leading cause of blindness among American citizens over 55 years old.

Macular degeneration causes retinal damage

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) often affects the central part of the eye and causes central vision loss while leaving the peripheral vision intact. AMD damages the retina and makes the eyes hard to see colors or details during reading materials and even recognizing faces. As the interior layer of the eye, retina is critical in collecting and transmitting light signals from the eye to the brain, which is the process of vision sensation. The retina contains many receptors and nerves which are responsible for performing visual tasks.

Wet form AMD involves abnormal blood vessels growth

Age-related macular degeneration has mainly two forms: wet AMD and dry AMD. Wet form of AMD accounts for 15% of total blindness cases caused by this disease. Wet macular degeneration results from abnormal blood vessels growth under the retina. As a result, blood leakage will occur and cause scarring distortion and destroy central vision.

Dry form AMD involves gradual cells breakdown

Unlike wet AMD, dry form of AMD is caused by gradual cells breakdown in the macula, resulting in a gradual blurriness in the central vision. Using an ophthalmoscope and a slit-lamp, small and yellow-white spots can be found in the back of the eye. These spots rarely occur in people in their 30s but are commonly seen in individuals over 70 years old.

Different solutions to the two forms of AMD

Involving loss of photoreceptors in the central part of the eye, dry form of advanced macular degeneration is not under control of any medical or surgical treatment. Related patients have little thing to do. In recent years, some eye doctors recommend vitamin supplements for slowing down dry AMD progression. Suggested nutrients include antioxidants, lutein, zeaxanthin etc. When it comes to wet AMD, the situation of treatment is generally disappointing. No eye doctor is confident enough to claim his ability to treat effectively this disease. Instead, there are only some new drugs, which will be injected directly into the eye’s vitreous humor and then make the abnormal blood vessels regress.

Eye care tips for AMD patients

People over the age of 45 are highly encouraged to receive a complete eye examination every two years. For those have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, it is necessary to check their vision more frequently from the doctor. Besides treatments from an eye doctor, AMD patients can also do something at home. The AREDS study has shown that taking supplements including antioxidants and zinc is probably effective in preventing macular degeneration. In addition, getting rid of smoking is believed to slow down AMD progression.