What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
As the years go by, our vision can change and, after the age of 50, one of the most common diseases is age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Also known by its acronym AMD, it is a pathology produced by aging, which causes the gradual loss of central vision and image detail. This happens because the macula, the central part of the retina that allows us to see detail, degrades or deteriorates.
What kinds of advanced forms of AMD are there?
There are two different types, although one of them is much more common:
- Dry macular degeneration: occupies 90% of cases and consists of the progressive degradation of the light-sensitive cells of the macula, which cause a haziness in the affected eye. It has a slower evolution.
- Wet macular degeneration: less common, in which new blood vessels appear in very thin walls, causing blood filtration and flows to the macula. It has a very rapid evolution, as well as vision loss.
What are the causes?
- Genetics: usually patients suffering from the pathology have a family history of the same situation.
- Tobacco: a factor that accelerates the onset of AMD.
- Diet: a good diet will help to have a better ocular health, slowing down the onset of the pathology.
How can it be detected?
In early and intermediate stages, AMD is completely asymptomatic, while in advanced stages it usually impairs central vision.
In these advanced stages, the most frequent form of diagnosis is the Amsler grid test. This test consists of fixing the gaze of one eye on a black dot, located in the middle of a grid with straight lines. If the patient sees it distorted or with lines that are not straight or blurred, it will be a sign of AMD. Once there is suspicion, the definitive diagnosis will be made by the ophthalmologist, based on the dilation of the pupils by means of eye drops.
What is the treatment?
Currently, the most common treatment is intravitreal injections, which are performed under topical anesthesia and on an outpatient basis. Antioxidants are also used in some patients, which in many cases help to slow the progression of AMD.
In short, to detect the disease in time, ophthalmology specialists recommend an annual visit.