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What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular Degeneration is an age-related vision problem which is why it is popularly known as AMD (age-related macular Degeneration). When you have AMD, you will gradually lose your central vision.

With AMD, whether you are looking at anything up close or far away, you will not be able to make out tiny details. However, you won't have any side or peripheral vision issues.

For example, if a patient with Macular Degeneration is staring at a clock. He/she might be able to see the numbers on the clock, but not the hands.

Macular Degeneration is relatively prevalent, especially in adults over the age of 50 who experience this kind of vision loss.

Types of Macular Degeneration

This form of vision problem is divided into two types:

1. Dry Macular Degeneration- This particular type occurs relatively frequently. The dry form of AMD affects approximately eight out of ten patients. Dry age-related Macular Degeneration occurs when areas of the macula become thinner with age and when drusen, which are small clumps of protein, form. Your center vision deteriorates over time. At present, there is no treatment available for dry Macular Degeneration.

2. Wet Macular Degeneration- This kind of AMD is significantly less prevalent; however, it is considered a more dangerous vision problem. This type of AMD is characterized by the growth of new blood vessels that are aberrant beneath the retina.

These arteries can leak blood or other fluids, which will result in scarring of the macula. When you have wet Macular Degeneration, your vision will deteriorate more quickly.

The symptoms of AMD don't typically present themselves until the patient's eyesight becomes severely impaired. Hence, it is critical to visit a reputable eye specialist, such as Plan My Lasik, to get a timely solution. Moreover, before you experience any vision problems, he or she can look for early indicators of AMD in your eyes.

Who is Most Likely to Develop AMD?

The following factors increase your risk of developing Age-related Macular Degeneration:

  • People who consume a lot of foods that are high in saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese)

  • People who consume tobacco

  • People who are overweight and obese

  • People who have high blood pressure if they are over the age of 50

  • People with macular degeneration in their families; are likely to develop age-related macular Degeneration

  • Aside from that, both having heart disease and having high cholesterol levels are considered to be risk factors for age-related macular Degeneration

  • Caucasians, generally known as white people, have an increased chance of developing age-related macular Degeneration

Symptoms of AMD

The symptoms of AMD change depending on what stage the disease is in. There are three different stages of dry AMD: early, middle, and late.

AMD is a progressive illness, which means that the symptoms will often worsen over time as the disease progresses.

In its earliest stages, dry AMD does not produce any symptoms. In the intermediate stage of dry AMD, some patients still do not exhibit any symptoms. Some people may only experience moderate symptoms, such as a slight blurriness in the center of their field of vision or difficulty seeing in dim lighting.

In the late stages of age-related macular Degeneration, whether wet or dry, many people observe that previously straight lines begin to appear wavy or crooked. You might also observe a fuzzy region close to the center of your field of vision. This fuzzy spot could get worse over time, or you might start to notice blank patches in its place. You might also notice that colors appear darker than they did previously and that you have a harder time seeing dim lights.

The appearance of waviness or distortion in straight lines is a warning indication of advanced AMD. If you experience this symptom, you should make an appointment with an eye doctor as soon as possible.

Macular Degeneration Diagnosis

Your ophthalmologist may ask you to gaze at an Amsler grid while you're getting your eyes examined. This grid can help you identify any areas in your range of vision that are hazy, distorted, or completely blank.

Your eye doctor will also use a specialized lens to examine the internal structures of your eye. If there have been any changes to the retina or macula, they will be able to see them.

Your ophthalmologist will use eye drops that dilate the pupil of your eye in order to examine your eye better. Doing so will help your ophthalmologist to examine the interior of your eye by looking through a specialized lens.

Another method to examine the retina in greater detail is called optical coherence tomography, or OCT. The retina is scanned by a machine, which then produces very detailed images of both the retina and the macula.

For your doctor to determine what is going on with your retina, he or she may do fluorescein angiography. An injection of a yellow dye known as fluorescein is given to the patient, most commonly in the arm.

The dye makes its way through the blood vessels in your body. Photographs of the retina are taken with a specialized camera while the dye moves through the blood vessels of the retina. This demonstrates whether or not aberrant new blood vessels are developing underneath the retina.

Optical coherence tomography angiography, also known as OCTA, is an additional method that can be used to examine the blood vessels in and underneath the retina in more detail. This method is quite similar to fluorescein angiography, except it does not involve the use of a dye.

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