The Truth About Macular Degeneration

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Information about The Truth About Macular Degeneration
Health & Medicine

Published on March 4, 2014

Author: Vision-Aids

Source: slideshare.net

Description

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among people who are over 65 years of age. It’s often called age related macular degeneration or AMD/ARMD for short. Individuals affected by this condition often lose their central vision (the macula – responsible for seeing fine detail) because their retina is damaged, but the peripheral vision stays intact. Even though it usually affects the elderly, there are also cases of AMD among younger individuals (known as Stargardt’s disease or juvenile macular degeneration – STGD).

THE TRUTH ABOUT MACULAR DEGENERATION

AN ARTICLE BY TOPLEKA.NET Low Vision Aids & Magnifying Lamps © 2014 Topleka.net

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among people who are over 65 years of age. It’s often called age related macular degeneration or AMD/ARMD for short. Individuals affected by this condition often lose their central vision (the macula – responsible for seeing fine detail) because their retina is damaged, but the peripheral vision stays intact. Even though it usually affects the elderly, there are also cases of AMD among younger individuals (known as Stargardt’s disease or juvenile macular degeneration – STGD). There are two main forms of macular degeneration – the dry and the wet form. The dry form occurs when drusen (cellular debris) accumulates between the choroid and the retina, leading to detachment of the retina. The wet form occurs when the blood vessels from the choroid start growing behind the retina, leading to detachment of the retina as well. The wet form is typically more severe. Wet AMD progresses quickly – blurred vision is the earliest symptom. Dry AMD progresses more slowly, the first symptom being that straight lines might appear crooked to you. There are several causes of macular degeneration, but the most common one is aging. Approximately

10% of individuals between 66 and 74 years will have signs of macular degeneration, and those who are 75 to 85 years of age, the prevalence goes up to 30%. Family history is a risk factor as well; if you have a relative with macular degeneration, the risk of developing it yourself is about 50%, which is quite high when compared to 12% risk in people who don’t have relatives suffering from this condition. Genes play a major role as well – researches have linked the risk of developing AMD to certain gene groups (macular degeneration gene and mutation of the ATP synthase gene). Other risk factors include hypertension, obesity, fat intake, cholesterol, oxidative stress, race (it’s more common in Caucasians), vitamin D deficiency and smoking. Treatment includes laser coagulation and medication that can stop (and even reverse) the growth of blood vessels. The usage of vision aids for macular degeneration is widely recommended. The treatment depends on the type of AMD. Wet AMD is treated by using antiangiogenics that aid in the regression of the abnormal blood vessels and they also help in improving vision when they are injected directly. Photodynamic therapy is another way to treat wet

AMD. After the drug verteporfin is injected intravenously, the abnormal blood vessels are exposed to a certain wavelength of the light, which activates the drug and removes the abnormal vessels. Research has shown that consummation of omega 3 fatty acids helps in decreasing the progression of early AMD, but other non-drug treatment options didn’t yield results. There are, however, adaptive devices that will make the lives of individuals suffering from this condition easier. AMD doesn’t affect the peripheral vision, so this vision can be used to compensate. Special eyeglass lenses are manufactured, as well as magnifying glasses, computer screen readers and TV systems that will make it easier for individuals to adapt to their condition. There are many classes for independent living that will help individuals adjust easier, learn to work with adaptive devices and cope with their condition.

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