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Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Age-related Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss for people over 60 years of age. This common disease gradually and painlessly damages the central part of our retina called the macula. The macula is the most critical part of the retina- which gives us central vision and the ability to perform detailed visual tasks such as reading, driving and recognizing faces. AMD is generally categorized into the dry type or more aggressive wet type.
Source: America Academy of ophthalmology
AMD can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
• Distorted vision
• Reduced central vision
• Duller color perception
• Haziness in your vision
• A blurry or blind spot in your field of vision
Generally, most people start out with dry macular degeneration form- this is called dry AMD. It is the slower form of macular degeneration. 95% of people with macular degeneration have dry AMD. In some cases, as the disease progresses, new blood vessels can grow under the retina. This is called wet macular degeneration and these blood vessels can bleed causing a leakage of fluid into the macula with a more rapid loss of central vision.
Traditionally an Amsler grid is used at home to test each eye individually to determine if there is a subtle change in vision from AMD. Your doctor should be notified within 24-48 hours if there is new distortion seen on the Amsler grid. We are using even more sophisticated device at home for even earlier detection of changes.
Amsler Grid: Source Wills eye hospital
The cause of AMD is many and quite complex. It is affected by having lighter blue colored eyes, advancing age, genetics, smoking, UV exposure, poor diet as well as being overweight.
InVision offers the most sophisticated diagnostic tools available to diagnose and differentiate between the various forms of AMD. You can help by checking your vison in everyday for just a few seconds and make sure you don’t see any changes. The Amsler Grid above is a useful in-home screen tool.
Treatment depends on which form of AMD that you have.
• When dry AMD progresses, the treatment will center on nutritional therapy and supplements used to increase the quantities of vitamins and minerals need to protect your macula. There were two government sponsored studies called AREDS 1 and AREDS 2 which scientifically demonstrated the benefit a the AREDS formula in patients diagnosed with AMD.
Most people are unaware that many over the counter nutritional supplement formulas generally do not have what they claim to have. We recommend Science Based Healthcare vitamin. They are manufactured in a state-of-the-art US NSF certified facility.
• For wet AMD the most common treatment is anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) therapy. This involves periodic eye injections of a chemical called an "anti-VEGF.” Normally, VEGF supports the growth of new blood vessels, but with AMD VEGF is unhealthy because the new vessels grow leak blood and fluid destroying the retina. An intraocular shot of an anti-VEGF medication slows or stops the development of new blood vessels behind the retina to maintain your vison. This is an extraordinary development because in the past the vast majority of people with wet AMD become legally blind. Not so today! Fortunately, at InVision, we use special techniques for eye injections which are typically quick and painless. The medication effects can last a month and or longer. We offer the latest FDA-approved treatments. It is extremely important that people do not delay their injections because it can lead to irreversible loss of vison.
Dr. Gloth is a gifted retinal specialist who has an extraordinary amount of experience with macular degeneration for over 10 years. Many patients with wet AMD have switched to Dr. Gloth because of his expertise in the macular degeneration, his very gentle techniques and lower waiting times. We are fortunate to have in our multispecialty practice.