Medical Care ,  Eye Care (Ophthalmology)

Age-related Macular Degeneration in a Nutshell

October 14, 2021

What we need to know about Age-related Macular Degeneration: What is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)? It is an age-related eye disease that causes central vision loss, more commonly in people above the age of 50 years old.


Age-related Macular Degeneration in a Nutshell

Why does AMD occur?

Degenerative changes due to ageing can occur in the macula, which is the central portion of the retina located on the inside, innermost layer of the eye. This results in loss of central vision and usually occurs in both eyes, although it may affect the eyes asymmetrically.

Who are at risk of AMD?

  • Age > 50 years old
  • Smokers – cigarette smoke increases the risk of AMD by 2 to 4 times
  • Race – Caucasians tend to be at higher risk of AMD
  • Genetics – those with a family member with AMD
  • Systemic health problems including Hypertension and High Cholesterol
  • Excessive UV exposure
  • Low dietary antioxidants intake

What are the Symptoms of AMD?

  1. The blurring of central vision
  2. Wavy lines (metamorphopsia)
  3. Floaters (could signify bleeding)

How many types of AMD are there?

There are 2 main types – dry and wet.

Dry age-related macular degeneration is more common and occurs when degenerative material accumulates as drusen in the macular and eventually the macular tissue becomes atrophic and stops working effectively. Dry AMD usually progresses slowly. There is currently no cure however steps can be taken to slow down its progression and prevent blindness, including cessation of smoking and dietary supplementation with lutein and zeaxanthin.

Wet age-related macular degeneration occurs when fluid or bleeding from abnormal blood vessels under the macula occurs. It is less common and vision loss can be rapid and severe. If detected early, treatment with appropriate eye medications may prevent blindness. If discovered too late, bleeding beneath the retina leaves permanent scarring of the macula with irreversible visual loss.

Dry AMD can eventually convert into Wet AMD with time; hence the idea is to detect dry AMD early and prevent it from converting to the wet form.

How to prevent AMD?

  1. Avoid smoking
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  4. Eat a healthy diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish
  5. Get regular eye checks once a year
  6. Protect your eyes from excessive UV exposure from sunlight

Treatment for AMD

Treatment of Dry age-related macular degeneration includes simple lifestyle changes and regular monitoring for the disease to slow the progression from turning into the wet form. Cessation of smoking will definitely help. Patients can take supplements high in lutein and zeaxanthin (which are retinal pigments) to further enhance the level of antioxidants in the eye if their dietary intake of vitamins and minerals is low.

The treatment for Wet age-related macular degeneration should be customised by your retinal eye doctor. It is aimed at stopping the leakage of blood and fluid for as long as possible. Your doctor may give injections, laser or a combination of both treatments depending on your eye condition.

Do I have age-related macular degeneration?

Sometimes in early disease, there is little to no symptoms. It is best to have an eye exam by a retinal specialist who will be able to scan your eye with the optical coherence tomography (OCT) machine. This OCT machine will be able to show almost microscopic details of the retina and can detect early changes of dry age-related macular degeneration. At Asia Retina, we use the OCT machine with the highest resolution quality in order to offer the best diagnostic and therapeutic solutions for our patients. If you are keen on an eye assessment, contact our team at 6732 0007 or 9118 0007 for an appointment today.

 

About Asia Retina Eye Surgery Centre
 
Asia Retina was established to provide comprehensive ophthalmology eye care services, with emphasis on retinal health. At Asia Retina, we focus on modern techniques and innovation, fully customised treatments and personalised attentive medical care from award-winning eye surgeon, Dr Claudine Pang. We have a mission to spread awareness of simple and proactive steps everyone can take to achieve eye wellness and prevent eye diseases in Singapore. 

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