Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in adults over the age of 50 throughout the developed world. The National Institutes of Health reports that 11 million people in the United States are currently living with AMD, and an estimated 17 million people worldwide are impacted by the disorder.
There are two types of AMD:
- Dry macular degeneration. Accounting for around 90% of AMD cases, dry AMD develops slowly and may not result in a complete loss of vision
- Wet macular degeneration. Also known as neovascular AMD, wet macular degeneration develops quickly and almost always results in vision loss
Symptoms of AMD may include:
- Increased light sensitivity
- Loss of color vibrancy
- Written text appearing blurry
- Generally hazy or less defined vision
- Difficulties recognizing faces
Wet AMD may show all of these symptoms in addition to a blind spot in the central vision or a condition called metamorphopsia, in which straight lines appear crooked or blurred.
Treating Wet AMD
There is no treatment for wet or dry AMD. Once vision begins to diminish, it is lost permanently. However, when symptoms are caught early on, there are ways to treat the condition, including:
- Anti-VEGF medications. These medications block the formation of new blood vessels to help prevent the progression of wet AMD
- Laser therapy. In some cases, blood vessels can be targeted by a laser. Photodynamic therapy, a type of laser therapy used in conjunction with the medication verteporfin, may also be utilized
Scientists at the University of Birmingham are currently studying an AMD eye drop that could potentially revolutionize the way the condition is treated. Clinical trials should begin soon with the hopes of having the drug approved by 2020. At Seeta Eye Centers, we carefully monitor the progression of these studies and will quickly add FDA-approved macular degeneration treatments to our services in order to provide our patient’s with the safest and most effective options available.
Treating Dry AMD
Dry AMD often responds well to lifestyle changes. Adopting a healthy lifestyle complete with a nutritious diet and plenty of exercise can help delay the progression of vision loss in patients with dry macular degeneration. So too might certain supplements.
In a comprehensive study of age-related eye diseases (AREDS and AREDS2) it was found that patients who have been diagnosed with dry AMD may be able to prevent or slow vision loss by supplementing their diets with at least:
- 500 mg vitamin C
- 400 IU vitamin E
- 10 mg lutein
- 2 mg zeaxanthin
- 80 mg zinc
- 2 mg copper
The sooner patients begin lifestyle changes and supplement usage, the better the results, but AMD can be slow to progress and may not show immediate symptoms. This is one of several reasons you should visit our Fishkill or Poughkeepsie location for yearly examinations after the age of 50, enabling us to detect age-related vision problems early and provide swift and effective treatment before serious vision loss occurs.
To schedule an examination at one of our Hudson Valley offices, call Seeta Eye Centers at 845-454-1025 today.