Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition affecting many people as they older. By the age of 75, about one quarter of people may be affected by AMD to some degree. Although most people with AMD do not develop severe vision loss in their lifetime, due to the large number of people with this disease it is the most common cause of blindness in the population over age 65.
Dry AMD. Everyone with macular degeneration starts with the dry form. Overall, 90% of people with AMD only have the dry variant over their lifetime. Dry AMD is evidenced by the presence of drusen, deposits of what is essentially metabolic waste product of the macula. Thinning of the macula due to loss of tissue may also occur. Slowly over time, central vision may be increasingly affected although in most cases not severely. In severe circumstances larger areas of thinning, described as geographic atrophy, can affect more profound central vision loss. However, of all people that lose severe vision from AMD, only 10% do so from dry AMD. Currently, there is no effective treatment against dry AMD aside from antioxidant vitamin supplementation, a healthy diet, and not being a cigarette smoker. According to the NIH sponsored Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), supplementation with antioxidant vitamins reduces risk of developing severe macular degeneration or severe vision loss from macular degeneration by 25%. Additionally, foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthine (dark, green leafy vegetables) and perhaps omega-3 fatty acids (fish) may reduce risk of developing severe macular degeneration.
Photo and OCT
Wet AMD. This is a less common form of AMD, but it accounts for 90% of people who lose severe vision from AMD. Wet AMD occurs when there is growth of abnormal blood vessels underneath and within the macula (neovascularization). These vessels may leak fluid and blood, which could lead to scarring. The rate and extent of worsening of wet AMD is typically much faster than it is with dry AMD. Fortunately, there are effective treatments nowadays which prevent severe vision loss in a high majority of people affected by wet AMD. Since the advent of intravitreal injections for wet AMD in 2005, the incidence of blindness from wet AMD has decreased by 50%.
Photo and OCT
At the Retina Centers of Washington, we offer effective treatments such as Avastin and Eylea for the treatment of wet AMD. We also use the latest in diagnostic equipment to aid in the diagnosis and management of this condition.