Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

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Our eyes are one of the most precious organs of life and nurturing it perfectly and protecting it is substantial to go a long way. There are several daily challenges to hustle through and several diseases, and conditions are found new on the way. One such issue which causes eyes majorily is the Age-related Macular Degeneration. In this brief but simple article, we will discuss what is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), what are the causes behind it, The symptoms it causes, and suggested ways to treat it. Without wasting much time let us jump into it.

What is AMD?

Before knowing its symptoms and how to treat it first let's understand what is AMD. Age-related Macular Degeneration is a progressive eye condition affecting the Macula of the human eye. The macula is the central part of the rectina which eventually leads to vision loss if damaged hence understand the condition is serious and needs serious precautions. According to reports and studies, it is said that getting affected by AMD could completely make one go blind in about 10 years since its inception. 

Causes of Age-related Macular Degeneration

Let us look at the few but most important and serious causes behind Age-related Macular Degeneration for you to change or no longer do to nurture your eye.

  1. Age: Staying true to its name the major cause and reason behind AMD is aging which is self-explanatory. This is likely to significantly increase after the age of 50 or 60 making you vulnerable to higher risks.
  2. Genetics: Sometimes genes are to be blamed as if the history of the family or previous generations faced the conditions it is likely that you are prone to it as well.
  3. Lifestyle factors: Lifestyle factors such as poor and unhealthy diet, high blood pressure as well and lifestyle habits including smoking push you to the void of increased risks, especially AMD.
  4. Sun Exposure; Despite the benefits, spending time under heavy sunlight at peak hours or seasons exposes you to UV light rays which damage your eyes and contribute to the development of AMD.
Causes of Age-related Macular Degeneration

Poor food choices such as processed foods that contain transfats, high-fat dairy foods along with fatty beef pork, and lamb are known to contribute to the issue if it marks its start.

Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Let us look at a few symptoms or signs that might be useful for early detection or extra care if you have AMD. They include:

  1. Blurred or Distorted Vision: Blurred vision is one of the most common symptoms that might help you spot AMD. Seeing straight lines as wavy is a simple example.
  2. Dark or Empty areas in vision: A dark or Blank spot appearing in the center or a significant part of your vision is another classic sign of AMD or any eye issues that need attention.
  3. Difficulty in recognizing faces: As obvious failing to recognize a person's face close or afar is a symptom that needs to be taken into account.
  4. Reduced Color Perception: In this case, you fail to differentiate between different shades of the same color or it appears less vibrant.
  5. Difficulty in reading or performing specific tasks: This sign makes you unable to read due to not being able to understand the words and prevents you from activities that require strong vision.

Also Read: Can a phone cause blurry vision?

Types of Age-related Macular Degeneration

There are two types of AMD: Dry AMD (Atrophic) due to the slow and persistent breakdown of cells in the Macula and more common among people. Meanwhile, the other one is Wet AMD (Neovascular) which is rare but severe as it involves abnormal blood vessel growth underneath the rectina and causes quick vision loss.

Treatments for AMD

These are the most common treatment methods used if you encounter Age-related Macular Degeneration. Ensure to take, the practice undergoing the treatment process, and medications and stay positive and consistent to have a bright vision in the long run.  In detail, they are:

Lifestyle Modifications

This aids in controlling several health issues diseases and conditions which include AMD. A healthy lifestyle practice such as eating a healthy and balanced diet. That includes leafy greens, fish, and antioxidants along with not smoking with managed blood pressure, and cholesterol levels are appreciated. Remember to wear a UV-protected glass in case of exposure to the sun.

Vitamin supplements

These supplements such as high-dose antioxidant vitamin supplements named AREDS2 consists of Vitamins such as C and E with minerals such as zinc, copper, lutein, and zeaxanthin suggested by expert who are vulnerable to a higher risk of advanced AMD.

Injections

Understand these are mostly used for wet AMD. Anti-VEGF medications are injected to inhibit the growth of unusual blood vessels and protect the vision. These if necessary are meant to be administered quickly to stay safe.

Photodynamic Therapy

This is a treatment using a light-sensitive drug accompanied by laser treatment to terminate abnormal blood vessels in the eye.

Low-vision tools or gadgets

Devices such as magnifying lenses, telescopic glasses, and electronic magnifiers are used to assist individuals with AMD and make their lives easier.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration Authority of the US has approved a medication to treat a sort of AMD or for Macular degeneration but not for Wet AMD. This is a piece of good news and no need to worry as the Wet AMD is rare but the experts are working on it regardless. This grants vision to many affected by this condition and hopes for the other few.

Read More: What is the normal sugar level after food?

Conclusion

Millions of people worldwide suffer from the progressive eye disease known as age-related macular degeneration. Even though there is no known treatment, eyesight preservation can be achieved by managing the condition appropriately and detecting it early. For AMD to be effectively managed. It is critical to identify symptoms, have frequent eye exams, lead a healthy lifestyle, and heed the advice of eye care specialists. People with AMD can manage changes in their vision and enjoy satisfying lives. If they receive the right care and assistance.

References

Jonas, J. B., Cheung, C. M. G. & Panda-Jonas, S. Updates on the epidemiology of age-related macular degeneration. Asia Pac J. Ophthalmol. 6, 493–497 (2017). Google Scholar 

Colijn, J. M. et al. Prevalence of age-related macular degeneration in Europe: the past and the future. Ophthalmology 124, 1753–1763 (2017). PubMed

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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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