What is macula and macular degeneration?
Macula is the yellowish oval area surrounding the retina of the eye, and it is the finest part where images are received. Degeneration of the macula occurs mostly at the age of 60, and hence, it is termed as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Patients experiencing macular degeneration may not experience total blindness, but they may lose most of their central vision. The symptoms observed in this condition are the need for brighter light while reading, difficulty recognizing faces, decreased intensity of colors, etc.
Macular degeneration is mainly associated with aging. However, other factors such as smoking, hereditary, sedentary life style also cause macular degeneration.
What are the types of macular degeneration?
There are two types of macular degeneration. Each have different macular degeneration symptoms and are diagnosed with the help og macular degeneration test.
Dry AMD- It is the most common form of eye disease, and it is the early-intermediate stage of macular degeneration. The patients may experience slight vision changes; however, they may not notice the symptoms.
Wet AMD- It is the most severe form of macular degeneration that leads to complete vision loss. This occurs due to abnormal growth of blood vessels beneath retina and macula which leads to the destruction of healthy cells. It is proved that nearly 10% of people with macular degeneration have this type of AMD. If you have Wet AMD, macular degeneration symptoms may include seeing wavy lines, or dark spots throughout the day.
Juvenile MD- In some cases, macular degeneration can also affect young people, a condition called as juvenile macular degeneration. Scarring of macula is seen in such patients.
There is no special macular degeration treatment for dry AMD as it does not have any effect on side vision and it does not cause total blindness. But the progression of the disease can be prevented by a healthy lifestyle. It is proved that taking specific high-dose formulation of antioxidants and zinc decreases the risk of advanced AMD and the vision loss.
But in some cases, when the patients have advanced dry macular degeneration, Surgery can be done to implant a telescopic lens in one eye. This helps in improving both distance and close-up vision.
Some macular degeneration treatment options help slow down vision loss associated with wet AMD. These include:
It is used to destroy abnormal blood vessels within the retina. A high beam of light is directed onto the blood vessels to destroy them. This treatment is effective in slowing vision loss in patients who have developed new blood vessels away from the cornea.
injections are prescribed to prevent abnormal blood vessels. Over expression of VEGF can cause vascular disease in the retina of the eye; which is inhibited by the anti- VEGF drugs that control or slow those diseases. Drugs which are classified as anti-VEGF drugs include aflibercept, bevacizumab, and ranibizumab.
This involves laser treatment for selected areas of the retina. Your physician administers a drug called verteporfin into the vein of your arm. The drug travels the blood vessels and is absorbed by new blood vessels. Then, a low-power laser light is applied to the newly grown blood vessels; which activates the drug present in the blood vessels.
Once activated, the drug slows the growth of new blood vessels and slows the rate of vision loss.
The physician will prescribe eye drops to keep your eyes moisturized after the macular degeneration treatment. This also helps in preventing the infection after surgery. It takes nearly three to six weeks to heal after the AMD treatment.
Laser therapy damages some of the nerve cells in the macula which may cause vision loss.