A Common, Aging Problem
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of blindness among seniors in America, and continues to be a growing problem as our baby boomer generation matures. Due to the prevalence of the disease, we are often faced with this question from our patients, “Are there any new developments in the treatment of macular degeneration?”
Although there is no cure for AMD yet, your doctor could recommend a variety of treatments, depending on the presence of dry or wet AMD. Dry macular degeneration, the type present in 90 percent of patients with AMD, occurs when yellow drusen gradually build up in the macula, eventually dimming or distorting vision. In severe cases of dry AMD, blind spots and total vision loss can occur.
Wet macular degeneration occurs when blood vessels leak fluid into the retina. This strand typically progresses more quickly than dry AMD and can cause substantial vision loss in a brief period of time. Although only 10 percent of AMD patients have the wet variety, the condition is blamed for almost all cases of blindness.
Typical signs and symptoms of AMD include:
- Difficulty adapting to low light levels.
- Blurred vision.
- Decreased intensity of brightness or colors.
- Decreased central vision.
- Hallucinations of geometric shapes, animals, or people.
- Blind spots.
Traditional treatments for AMD include laser and invasive surgery, both of which can leave significant scarring. Fortunately, newer treatment options could significantly reduce the progression of AMD without the discomfort and physical side effects of lasers or surgery.
Don’t hesitate to call or contact Georgia Eye Partners when you have questions. Most patients with early and intermediate AMD exhibit no symptoms and only a comprehensive eye exam can detect the disease. We recommend annual eye examinations to check for this common condition and can offer tips to reduce your risk of vision loss from the disease.