Wet AMD treatment and dry AMD prevention

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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has been the leading cause of blindness for many years. Without proper and early treatment, this eye disease can be very harmful to one’s eyesight. Furthermore, the current situation is that AMD is quite common among old people around the world. This disease is so named because of it always results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field which is called macula. The reason is a damaged retina. Individuals over fifty years old are particularly susceptible to macular degeneration. Serious cases involve a difficulty or impossibility to read or recognize faces. It is quite strange that a majority of AMD patients have normal peripheral vision.

Wet form macular degeneration and its treatment

There are two forms of age-related macular degeneration. The wet form of AMD is less common than dry form of AMD. Wet AMD involves blood vessel growth behind the retina, which is normally responsible for gathering light and transmitting signals to the brain. In some cases, the blood vessels below the macula may leak blood and protein. As a result, light receptors including rods and cones will be damaged by bleeding, leaking and scarring. This damage is irreversible and often leads to vision loss when it is left untreated.

Fortunately, there are some partially effective treatments for wet AMD now. Most doctors would recommend laser treatment and drugs, which can inhibit blood vessel growth. These new drugs are formally called anti-angiogenics or anti-VEGF. Being injected directly into the vitreous humor of the eye, they can sometimes cause regression of the abnormal blood vessels and improve eyesight.

Dry form macular degeneration and its prevention

Another form is dry AMD that is more common and formally called central geographic atrophy. This type of AMD is caused by a built up of yellow deposits named drusen on the retina. In composition, drusen is similar to the deposits found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and the plaque in atherosclerosis. In this case, it is understandable that these two groups of people are more susceptible to dry AMD.

Currently, there is no effective treatment for dry AMD. But many doctors recommend kinds of nutrients to prevent this eye disease. Lutein and zeaxanthin as pigments are the mostly concentrated in the retina. The macula contains more zeaxanthin while the periphery of the retina contains more lutein. These two pigments are believed to reduce the risk of developing dry AMD by preventing the built-up of drusen.

Other antioxidants may help prevent dry form AMD

In addition to lutein and zeaxanthin, some other antioxidants are also under study, so as to find out that whether they can contribute to the prevention of dry AMD. For instance, curcumin as an antioxidant can prevent the accumulation of the plaque and also break it up. So ophthalmologists are wondering that whether this nutrient can also break up drusen in dry AMD.