Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a problem with your retina. It happens when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged. With AMD you lose your central vision. You cannot see fine details, whether you are looking at somethingclose or far. But your peripheral (side) vision will still be normal. For instance, imagine you are looking at a clock with hands. With AMD, you might see the clock’s numbers but not the hands.
Dry AMD: This form is quite common. About 80% (8 out of 10) of people who have AMD have the dry form. Dry AMD is when parts of the macula get thinner with age and tiny clumps of protein called drusen grow. You slowly lose central vision. There is no way to treat dry AMD yet.
Wet AMD: This form is less common but much more serious. Wet AMD is when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels may leak blood or other fluids, causing scarring of the macula. You lose vision faster with wet AMD than with dry AMD.
Many people don’t realize they have AMD until their vision is very blurry. This is why it is important to have regular visits to an ophthalmologist. He or she can look for early signs of AMD before you have any vision problems.
You are more likely to develop AMD if you:
Having heart disease is another risk factor for AMD, as is having high cholesterol levels.
During an eye exam, your ophthalmologist may ask you to look at an Amsler grid (see grid on page 9). This grid helps you notice any blurry or blank spots in your field of vision. Your ophthalmologist will also look inside your eye through a special lens. He or she can see if there are changes in the retina and macula.
Your ophthalmologist will put drops in your eye to dilate (widen) your pupil. This allows him or her to look through a special lens at the inside of your eye.
Your doctor may do fluorescein angiography to see what is happening with your retina. Yellow dye (called fluorescein) is injected into a vein, usually in your arm. The dye travels through your blood vessels. A special camera takes photos of the retina as the dye travels throughout its blood vessels. This shows if abnormal new blood vessels are growing under the retina.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is another way to look closely at the retina. A machine scans the retina and provides very detailed images of the retina and macula.
Dry AMD: Right now, there is no way to treat the dry form of AMD. However people with lots of drusen or serious vision loss might benefit from taking a certain combination of nutritional supplements. A large study found those people may slow their dry AMD by taking these vitamins and minerals daily:
Your ophthalmologist can tell you if vitamins and minerals are recommended for your dry AMD.
Wet AMD: To help treat wet AMD, there are medications called anti-VEGF drugs. Anti-VEGF treatment helps reduce the number of abnormal blood vessels in your retina. It also slows any leaking from blood vessels. This medicine is delivered to your eye through a very slender needle.
Laser surgery may also be used to treat some types of wet AMD. Your eye surgeon shines a laser light beam on the abnormal blood vessels. This reduces the number of vessels and slows their leaking.
Talk with your ophthalmologist about ways to treat your AMD.
If you have AMD, you can learn how to make the most of your vision. Often you can still do many of your favorite things with special low vision tools. These can include different kinds of magnifying tools, handheld computers, electronic items and more.
Also, you can learn how to use your side vision to help you do things. A vision rehabilitation specialist can teach you how this works. They also can help you find many low vision support services and tools.
Ask your ophthalmologist to help you find a vision rehabilitation specialist in your area. The goal is to learn new ways to be as independent as possible.
AMD causes your vision to change over time. You may not notice these changes when they happen. But you need to catch vision changes as soon as possible. Treating them early can help slow or stop further loss of sight.
AMD is a problem with your retina. You lose your central vision, but your peripheral (side) vision will still be normal.
There are two forms of AMD: dry and wet. There is no treatment for dry AMD, though certain vitamins and minerals might help. Wet AMD may be treated with medication or laser surgery.
It is important to see your ophthalmologist regularly to check for eye and vision changes.
If you have any questions about your vision, speak with your ophthalmologist. He or she is committed to protecting your sight.
People who have a certain form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may benefit from a specific mix of vitamins and minerals. Taking these nutritional supplements might help slow this eye disease.
AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in people 50 years or older. It damages a specific part of your eye called the macula. With AMD, you lose the ability to see fine details, both close-up and at a distance.
AMD can affect one or both eyes. Your AMD may be so mild that you hardly notice any problems. Or your AMD may be more severe. With severe AMD, you may notice that printed words and even straight lines look wavy or blurry. You may also notice what seems to be a dark or empty space in the center of your vision. For example, you may see the outline of a clock but not see the hands to tell what time it is.
Although AMD affects your central vision, it does not affect your peripheral (side) vision, nor does it cause total blindness.
About 8 out of 10 people with AMD have the dry form. This condition is due to a breakdown or thinning of the macula. Dry AMD usually begins when tiny, yellow deposits called drusen form under the retina. Eventually, the macula may become thinner and stop working properly.
Many people with AMD have drusen. These alone do not cause vision loss. But when drusen grow in size or number, you are at risk for getting early or intermediate AMD. There are not always symptoms with these stages of AMD, though people with intermediate AMD might start to notice a blurred spot in their central vision.
Advanced AMD develops when cells in your macula begin to break down. This is when the blurred spot in your central vision starts getting bigger and darker. That is what robs you of your central vision.
AREDS 2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2) was a very large research study. It looked at taking vitamins and minerals daily for AMD. This study found that certain nutritional supplements could help some people who have a lot of drusen. These
It is important to remember that nutritional supplements are not a cure for AMD, but they may help to slow the disease in some people with early- to mid-stage AMD.
Talk with your ophthalmologist about whether nutritional supplements are recommended for you. Here are some topics to discuss:
Some people with dry AMD might benefit from certain vitamins and minerals. Taking these nutritional supplements every day could help to slow their AMD.
You should talk with your ophthalmologist to learn if these nutritional supplements are recommended for you.
If you have any questions about your eyes or your vision, speak with your ophthalmologist. He or she is committed to protecting your sight.