Symptoms of AMD
- Gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly
- Objects appear distorted in shape. Straight lines look wavy or crooked.
- Loss of clear color vision
- A dark or empty area appears in the center of vision.
Diagnosis of AMD
In its early stages, signs of macular degeneration can go unnoticed.
Yet, if you experience any signs/symptoms, contact your doctor of
optometry immediately. In a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist
will perform a variety of tests to determine if you have macular
degeneration, or any other eye health problems.
Treatment of AMD
With “dry” macular degeneration, the tissue of the macula gradually
becomes thin and stops functioning properly. There is no cure for dry
AMD, and any loss in central vision cannot be restored. However, doctors
now believe there is a link between nutrition
and the progression of dry AMD. Dietary changes favoring low-fat
content and dark green leafy vegetables can slow vision loss.
Nutritional supplements also may be beneficial.
Less common, “wet” macular degeneration results when fluids leak from
newly formed blood vessels under the macula and blur central vision.
Vision loss can be rapid and severe. If detected early, “wet” AMD can be
treated with laser treatment, which is often called photocoagulation. A
highly focused beam of light seals the leaking blood vessels that
damage the macula. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) uses a medication injected
into the bloodstream, which is then activated with a laser shone into
the eye. A new therapy available, where a medication is injected into
the back of the eye, is showing favorable results. These are not
permanent cures but are used to slow the rate of central vision loss.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe
vision loss in adults over age 50. The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention estimate that 1.8 million people have AMD and another 7.3
million are at substantial risk for vision loss from AMD. Caucasians are
at higher risk for developing AMD than other races. Women also develop
AMD at an earlier age than men. This eye disease occurs when there are
changes to the macula, a small portion of the retina that is located on
the inside back layer of the eye. AMD is a loss of central vision that
can occur in two forms: “dry” or atrophic and “wet” or exudative.
Most people with macular degeneration have the dry form, for which
there is no known treatment. The less common wet form may respond to
laser procedures, if diagnosed and treated early.
Some common symptoms are: a gradual loss of ability to see objects
clearly, distorted vision, a gradual loss of color vision, and a dark or
empty area appearing in the center of vision. If you experience any of
these, contact your doctor of optometry immediately
for a comprehensive examination. Central vision that is lost to macular
degeneration cannot be restored. However, low vision devices, such as
telescopic and microscopic lenses, can be prescribed to maximize
Researchers have linked eye-friendly nutrients such as lutein/zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc
to reducing the risk of certain eye diseases, including macular
degeneration. For more information on the importance of good nutrition
and eye health, please see the diet and nutrition section.