AMD: types and treatment

What is AMD?

The term AMD is the abbreviation for a disease that affects vision in people aged 55 years and older, which is Age-Related Macular Degeneration. The macula is the most important structure for quality color vision located in the center of the eye. Any disease that affects this area will have a great impact on visual acuity, and on the ability to read, recognize faces or watch television. It is not a disease that leads to blindness, as there may be other diseases, which deprive us of all vision. Patients who appear to have Age-Related Macular Degeneration will be able in everyday life to move around the streets with ease, to get around at home, but they will have serious difficulties, for example, to read a book or watch a television program.

What types of AMD are there?

There are two types, two very specific forms of macular degeneration. The dry or atrophic form and the wet or vascular form. The dry form is a more benign form because it evolves more slowly, but unfortunately it can sometimes produce very significant loss of central vision. The wet or vascular form is a more aggressive, faster form that leads to a more acute decrease in vision, which the patient should be aware of.

What symptoms does it cause?

In the atrophic or dry form, the patient gradually loses central vision capacity, and this can lead to confusion or to the realization that the patient has a cataract. It is important to know that there are other eye diseases that affect the vision of older people, not only cataracts. In the wet or vascular form, the process is faster, the patient is a little bit aware of it and he will immediately realize that his vision is being affected by a disease, because he sees less, because he sees spots, because he sees things crooked, because he notices that his reading ability is decreasing.

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What is the treatment?

There are treatments for the wet or vascular form, which consists of a substance that is injected into the eye that in initial stages can even improve the lost visual acuity, but in advanced stages it is only intended to maintain the level previously had. That is why early diagnosis by both the patient and the ophthalmologist is very important for the maintenance and future of the patient’s vision. This treatment is unfortunately temporary and sometimes we have to repeat the punctures with a periodicity even every month, although with time the space between treatment and treatment increases and this favors or favors the quality of life of the patient. In the dry form, on the other hand, we do not have treatment, it is a less aggressive form as we have said but we do not have a therapeutic option. They are currently investigating a treatment that consists of injecting certain substances that can make the disease progress or even improve, but it is still at a very experimental level.