Macular Degeneration Explained



What Is AMD?

AMD stands for Age Related Macular Degeneration. The macula is part of your eye (smaller than the size of a pinhead) that allows you to see fine detail. AMD can gradually destroy your central sharp vision.

macular-degeneration

 

There are two types of AMD:

DRY AMD happens when light-sensitive cells in your macula area gradually break down and you suffer a gradual loss of central vision and fading of colours. It’s the most common cause of blindness in the over-50’s.

WET AMD results in tiny new blood vessels growing behind the retina. These cause bleeding, swelling and scarring which can lead to sight loss. Wet AMD can develop quickly and can respond to some new treatments in the early stages. Wet AMD accounts for 10% of all people with AMD.

 

What are the symptoms of AMD?

Fuzzy or blurry vision, a empty or dark area in the centre of your vision and a dimming of vision when reading in the case of dry AMD.  Straight line suddenly appearing curved or wavy in case of wet AMD.

 

Is there a cure for AMD?

Currently there is no cure for dry AMD. Studies however have shown that the regular use of specific vitamin supplements help to reduce the rate the condition progresses and may also reduce the likelihood of dry AMD developing to wet AMD.

There is no proven cure for Wet AMD, but certain treatments such as laser surgery, photo-dynamic therapy and more recently an anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) drug, administered through a course of quick, painless injections. These innovative new drugs, which inhibit the growth of blood vessels, are suitable for a far greater percentage of sufferers than traditional surgery and typically deliver far better results.

 

Can AMD be prevented?

You can reduce your chances of developing AMD by not smoking wearing sunglasses or spectacles the block UV light, maintaining low blood pressure by both exercise and medication, eating a balanced diet with fruit, vegetables (especially those with high naturally occurring pigments such as peppers, broccoli, spinach and oily fish (high in omega 3 & 6) such as tuna and regularly  taking anti-oxidants that contain mezo -zeaxanthin.

Having regular eye exams including retinal photography and OCT scans & Amsler chart assessments can lead to early diagnosis of AMD and other conditions where treatment may be more useful. Adults who suffer from AMD or have a history of AMD in the immediate family, or those that with signs of Macular drusen (tiny yellow dots on the retina that normally do not interfere with your sight or vision but are an indicator that your eye may be more at risk to AMD in the future), should have a full advanced diagnostic examination with an optometrist once very 12 months.

 

Treatments For AMD

Dry Macular Degeneration

More severe forms of dry macular degeneration can also be operated on but treatments and success levels do vary – we can refer to specialists and private hospitals that can give you more information on this depending on your exact situation.

 

Wet Macular Degeneration

Wet age-related macular degeneration is now typically treated with an anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) drug, administered through a course of injections. These innovative new drugs, which inhibit the growth of blood vessels, are suitable for a far greater percentage of sufferers than traditional surgery and typically deliver better results.

If you live in Leicestershire we have a direct referral pathway for suitably assessed patients who are at risk of wet AMD and can normally seen by an eye specialist on the NHS within 2-3 weeks of our referral.

For patients that visit our practice from outside Leicestershire and do not have access to this direct referral pathway, we normally write a report to your GP and ask them to make arrangements at your nearest NHS rapid access Wet AMD referral centre as soon as possible.

For those who are unable to access a NHS rapid access centre or you are a patient consulting us from abroad we can make arrangements for you to be seen by a specialist  privately for the most effective anti – VEGF treatment and who will discuss the best options for you.

If you suffer from AMD, or are an adult with a direct family history of AMD, or have previously been diagnosed with Drusen near the macular area  of then retina – then we recommend you make an appointment for a specialist macular assessment at our practice. The charge of a full macular assessment is £97 & takes about an hour to complete.  In this consultation drops may be used that dilate the pupils of your eyes – therefore you are always advised not to drive after this appointment and come accompanied with another person.

We also always recommend all our patients with Dry Macular Degeneration (AMD) or Wet Macular Degeneration (AMD) or signs of Drusen to take 1 MacuShield capsule with food every day.

Buy Macushield Online at MacuShieldSuccess.co.uk

 

Where can I get more information on AMD?

The Macular Disease Society (UK) 0845 241 2041 www.maculardesease.org

The RNIB (UK) 0303 123 9999 www.rnib.co.uk