Age Related Macular Degeneration
Macular Degeneration in Medford
According to the EYEWiki web page:
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a medical condition which usually affects older adults and results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field (the macula) because of damage to the retina. It occurs in “dry” and “wet” forms. It is a major cause of blindness and visual impairment in older adults (>50 years). Macular degeneration can make it difficult or impossible to read or recognize faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life. Signs of macular degeneration include loss of central vision (either gradually or suddenly), difficulty reading or performing tasks that require the ability to see detail and/or distorted or wavy vision.
Starting from the inside of the eye and going towards the back, the three main layers at the back of the eye are the retina, which contains the nerves; the choroid, which contains the blood supply; and the sclera, which is the white of the eye.
The macula is the central area of the retina, which provides the most detailed central vision.
There are two types of AMD.
- Non-exudative (also known as dry AMD) is the most common form of the disease and has a better long-term visual prognosis than wet AMD.
- Exudative (also known as wet AMD) is associated with the development of new blood vessels that grow beneath the retina leading to bleeding, scarring and severe reduction in central vision.
In the dry (nonexudative) form, cellular debris called drusen accumulates between the retina and the choroid, and the retina can become detached. In the wet (exudative) form, which is more severe, blood vessels grow up from the choroid behind the retina, and the retina can also become detached. It can be treated with laser coagulation, and with medication that stops and sometimes reverses the growth of blood vessels.
Central geographic atrophy, the “dry” form of advanced AMD, results from atrophy of the retinal pigment epithelial layer below the retina, which causes vision loss through loss of photoreceptors (rods and cones) in the central part of the eye. No medical or surgical treatment is available for this condition; however, vitamin supplements with high doses of antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, have been suggested by the National Eye Institute and others to slow the progression of dry macular degeneration and, in some patients, improve visual acuity. However, recent advancements within the field of stem cell research in the United States has led to the first human embryonic stem cell trial for dry AMD, which reports positive results.
Higher beta-carotene intake was associated with an increased risk of AMD.
Neovascular or exudative AMD, the “wet” form of advanced AMD, causes vision loss due to abnormal blood vessel growth (choroidal neovascularization) in the choriocapillaris, through Bruch's membrane, ultimately leading to blood and protein leakage below the macula. Bleeding, leaking, and scarring from these blood vessels eventually cause irreversible damage to the photoreceptors and rapid vision loss if left untreated.
Read about your treatment options for macular degeration by clicking here.
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For more information on macular degeneration or to make an appointment with Oregon Retina Center call our Medford Office at (541) 770-2020 to schedule your appointment today.