Your macula is the central part of the retina and is devoted to your fine central vision. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) damages the macula, causing blurry central vision, wavy lines and distortion. It is the leading cause of severe vision loss in the elderly Caucasian population in the United States.
There are two forms of AMD – a “dry” form and a “wet” form. Most people have the “dry” form of AMD. This form causes a gradual decline in central vision and worsening distortion. There is no pain. The treatments for this form may include using vitamin supplements that are available over the counter. These vitamins, known as AREDS, should be taken under the close supervision of your eye care specialists. Additionally, controlling your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and not smoking are recommended. Routinely checking your each eye with an Amsler Grid can also help you pick up changes in between your follow up visits.
The “wet” form of AMD can occur at any time in either eye. This form causes a very sudden, rapid and severe loss of central vision. Abnormal blood vessels grow into your macula, causing bleeding and swelling. The damage to your macula can cause permanent loss of central vision. Fortunately, “wet” AMD can now be treated. In the past, lasers were used to treat “wet” AMD. However, these laser treatments have now been replaced by more effective therapies that include medicines that are repeatedly injected directly into the eye. Each injection treatment may indeed sound quite frightening and painful. In reality, the treatments are not as bad as one would think. The thought of the injection and the anticipation are usually worse than the actual procedure. There are several medicines that can be administered into the eye. Your retina specialist will discuss with you the one most appropriate for you. With the injections, continued loss of vision can be halted, thereby maintaining your vision. A good percentage of people do enjoy an improvement in vision as well.