As our bodies age, so do the rest of our organs. It’s Important to continue the health of your body, especially one of the most important organs, your eyes. Seniors and those over the age of 50 may be affected by what is Called Age-Related Macular Degeneration. At Vitreo Retinal Center, our highly acclaimed surgeons have the tools and techniques to help you.
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most frequent cause of vision loss among people 50 years and older in the Western world.
For instance, some of the symptoms of AMD can include:
- Blurry area near center of vision that may increase
- Blank spots in center of vision
- Objects not appearing as bright as they used to
Many older people are unaware that they have AMD and may not notice that their vision is deteriorating, particularly if it is only in one eye. Other people may fail to report vision loss because they believe it to be an inevitable consequence of aging. If patients with certain types of AMD are to benefit from recent developments in treatment, an early diagnosis is extremely and equally important. AMD can be classified as either dry or wet.
In order to definitively diagnose AMD, any or all of the following are necessary:
- Visual acuity test
- Physical examination of the back of the eye after dilation
- Amsler grid test for central vision
- Fluorescein angiogram, in which dye highlights the blood vessels
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
During the physical examination of the eye, the ophthalmologist takes particular care to look for pigment changes under the retina, as well as for drusen.
Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Dry AMD is the accumulation of drusen, which are small yellow deposits underneath the retina. Dry AMD often does not cause severe vision loss unless central atrophy develops. It is important to monitor patients with dry AMD because it may then progress to wet AMD. The wet form accounts for approximately 90% of severe vision loss in patients with AMD.
Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Wet AMD is the presence of choroidal neovascularization, which is a term that describes abnormal new blood growth underneath the retina. The main symptoms of wet AMD are deterioration in central vision, blind spots, and distorted vision. Definitive diagnosis and classification of choroidal neovascularization requires not only fluorescein angiography, ocular coherence tomography, but also color fundus photography of the retina. The location of neovascular lesions is also an important factor in determining the risk of vision loss. Eyes with subfoveal lesions (those that extend under the center of the retina) are at the greatest risk of vision loss.
Why Should I Choose Vitreo For My AMD Treatment?
At Vitreo Retinal, Dr. Cantrill and his critically acclaimed staff of doctors, go above and beyond to make sure you receive the proper treatment in a friendly and caring manner. Not only does our staff have excellent bedside manners, but we also have the latest and greatest technologies and techniques in the business. You will never go wrong when choosing Vitreo
Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatment
Our doctors suggest the following vitamin supplements daily to slow the progression of the visual atrophy from Dry AMD:
- Vitamin C 500 mg
- vitamin E 400 IU
- zinc 80 mg, copper 2 mg
- lutein 10 mg
- and zeaxanthin 2 mg
[bsf-info-box icon=”Defaults-angle-double-right” icon_size=”20″ icon_color=”#072178″ title=”Wet AMD”]Generally speaking, one of the most common treatments for wet AMD is the intravitreal administration of medications that block the growth of abnormal blood vessels underneath the retina. They target a specific chemical messenger called Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). Three common medications used in this setting are ranibizumab (Lucentis), aflibercept (Eylea) and bevacizumab (Avastin). Although the intraocular use of Avastin is “off-label,” many patients benefit from this medication. Lucentis, Eylea or Avastin are injected directly into the vitreous cavity in the office. Treatments may be as often as every month, and multiple injections may be necessary in order to keep the condition stable over the long term.
Photodynamic therapy with verteporfin (Visudyne) is another treatment option for wet AMD. With photodynamic therapy, verteporfin is administered by intravenous infusion. A non-thermal laser then treats the target area in the eye. Laser light is applied 15 minutes after the start of the medication infusion. Patients typically receive treatments every 3 months. Patients should avoid exposure to direct sunlight or strong indoor light for 5 days following the procedure.
Another treatment option for wet AMD is the use of a thermal laser, which may be necessary when the abnormal choroidal blood vessels do not extend directly underneath the fovea.
Frequently Asked Questions About AMD At Vitreo
In some patients, the condition progresses slowly and the changes in vision are imperceptible for some time. In others, the disease moves at an accelerated pace, leading relatively quickly to loss of central vision in one or both eyes. While AMD does not result in complete blindness because some peripheral vision always remains, it does make ordinary activities, particularly those that require close visual acuity, increasingly difficult.
Are There Certain Types Of AMD?
There are three stages of AMD. These stages are designated both by signs detected by the ophthalmologist and symptoms experienced by the patient.
Early Stage AMD
During early AMD, the physician can diagnose the illness by the presence of more than the usual number of drusen, yellow deposits under the retina, These drusen of medium size. Typically, patients with early AMD are not yet experiencing any loss of vision.
Intermediate Stage AMD
When a patient is in the intermediate stage of AMD, the doctor observes large drusen as well as possible changes in retinal pigment. While some patients at this stage may experience small gaps in vision, most patients with intermediate AMD do not experience any significant vision loss.
Late Stage AMD
During late stage AMD, patients have enough damage to the macula to experience significant vision loss.
If you are interested in learning more about Age-Related Macular Degeneration, please call (800) VRS-2500 to schedule a consultation. We have locations in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Blaine, Edina, Oakdale, Plymouth, St. Cloud, and Duluth.[/bsf-info-box]