Age related Macular Degeneration

Age related Macular Degeneration is a disorder of retina effecting elderly persons.It involves most central part of retina(Macula) which is responsible for our central vision.There are two types of age-related macular degeneration:-
1. Dry (atrophic) form: This type results from the gradual breakdown of cells in the macula, resulting in a gradual blurring of central vision. Single or multiple, small, round, yellow-white spots called drusen are the key identifiers for the dry type. 2. Wet (exudative or neovascular) form: In the wet form of macular degeneration, vision distortion usually starts in one eye and may affect the other eye later. In contrast to the dry type, vision loss may be rapid in the wet type of macular degeneration.

How do I know if I have AMD? Macular Degeneration can cause different symptoms in different people. The condition may be hardly noticeable in its early stages. Following are the common ways vision loss is detected: 1. Blurred or decreased vision 2. Blind spots, or scotomas, are a direct result of lost macular function. 3. Straight lines look irregular or bent, called metamorphopsia, and objects appear a different color or shape in each of the eyes. 4. Objects appearing smaller in one eye than the other.

How it would be diagnosed? Initial tests include measurement of the sharpness of vision, or visual acuity, and an examination of the retina. Multiple spots in the macular region known as drusen are the hallmark of the dry form of age-related macular degeneration.. In eyes with the wet form of age-related macular degeneration, exudates (fluid), blood, scarring, and new blood vessel membranes below the retina might be seen. Other tests include: Amsler Grid you will be asked to look at an Amsler grid. The pattern of the grid resembles a checkerboard. You will cover one eye and stare at a black dot in the center of the grid. While staring at the dot, you may notice that the straight lines in the pattern appear wavy. You may notice that some of the lines are missing. These may be signs of AMD.
Fluorescein angiography.
Optical coherence tomography

What are the treatment options?
Antioxidants: Antioxidants may protect against age-related macular degeneration by preventing free radicals or unstable oxygen from damaging the retina. Laser treatment: Laser treatment may stop or lessen vision loss in early stages of the disease. It is performed with a specific wavelength designed to cauterize the abnormal blood vessels. Medications Anti-VEGF therapy: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) causes new blood vessels to develop and increases leakage and inflammation of blood vessels. These drugs are given intraviteally to regain some vision, but the treatment might be repeated again and again to get the desired result.

What is the outcome of treatment?
AMD causes irreversible loss of vision.Till few years back AMD used to almost untreatable leading to blindness eventually.Laser has been one of the options but with the advent of intravitreal anti VEGF drug it is possible to salvage and many times improve vision in wet AMD.

Facilities for diagnosing and treatment is available at our centre.