What is Age Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration, often call AMD, is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss among people who are age 60 and older.  It is estimated that 10 million people will experience this disorder during their retirement years.  Macular degeneration is a disorder of the retina. The macula is a small central portion of the retina which is necessary for sharp “straight ahead” vision needed for reading, driving, or recognizing faces.

There are two types of age-related macular degeneration: Dry AMD, accounts for 80% of all cases of AMD, and Wet AMD, which occurs in the other 20% of cases.   Dry AMD is an early stage of the disorder and may result from aging and thinning of the macula.  Through a period of years, slow progression to late-stage atrophy can occur and can cause severe vision loss. With Wet AMD,  new abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid.  Eventually if left untreated, the process creates scarring and vision loss.

Risk factors for macular degeneration include:  Age; Hereditary; Smoking; and Hypertension.

No FDA-approved treatments are available for Dry AMD, although a few are now in clinical trials.  A clinical trial called Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) has produced strong evidence that certain nutrients such as beta carotene, Vitamin C and E, Lutein, and Omega 3-fatty acids may help to slow the progression of Dry AMD.  In Wet AMD, Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) drugs such as Lucentis, Avastin, Macugen, and Eylea can be injected into the eye to cause the abnormal leaking blood vessels to stop bleeding or leaking.

At Katzen Eye Group we use the most cutting-edge technology and equipment to diagnose AMD.  Our philosophy is simple; we are here to use every possible tool to prevent AMD from stealing a person’s vision and independence.  Early detection and treatment can help you avoid severe vision loss. If you have any questions or want to request a consultation (click here) or please contact our Retina Department at 443-632-2886.