What is Age Related Macular Degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the name given to a group of degenerative retinal eye diseases that cause progressive loss of central vision. There are two types of age-related macular degeneration; wet and dry, although the classification is much more complex than this.
What are the signs and symptoms?
AMD symptoms can include one or more of the following; distortion - where straight lines may appear wavy (please see our link to an Amsler grid), difficulty distinguishing faces, dark patches or empty spaces in the central part of the vision, and difficulty reading or performing tasks that require fine vision e.g. model making and needlecraft.
What are the causes of AMD?
AMD is caused by genetic and environmental factors. Research is ongoing in this area.
How is AMD diagnosed?
To check for AMD, your ophthalmologist will dilate your pupils using eye drops, then examine your eyes. This initial examination will look at the back of the eye and if AMD is detected, other tests may be performed.
If your ophthalmologist suspects you may have a wet form of AMD, a fundus fluorescein angiogram (FFA) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) may be carried out.
How is AMD treated?
Treatments are available for wet AMD that aim to assist in maintaining the best vision for as long as possible. In many cases vision may improve. These treatments target the blood vessels that grow abnormally into the retina causing bleeding, leakage and scarring. Your ophthalmologist will discuss these treatments and determine which is best for you.
Currently, there are no treatments for dry AMD. However, there is evidence to suggest that taking vitamins, minerals and antioxidants may slow the progression of dry AMD in specific sub types. http://www.mdfoundation.com.au/reducetherisk.aspx