What is the definition of age-related macular degeneration?
A typical eye disorder is age-related macular degeneration, also known as macular degeneration. It is due to the deterioration of the macula. It is a small area of the retina in the back of the eye in the center.
Central vision loss is due to macular degeneration. When you look straight ahead, your central vision is what you see in front of you.
When you look straight ahead, your peripheral vision is what you see on the side. Because it does not affect your peripheral vision, macular degeneration does not result in total blindness.
It is the leading cause of vision loss.
There are two types of classification for macular degeneration:
The remaining 10 to 15 percent are affected by wet macular degeneration. It happens when abnormal blood vessels form beneath the retina and macula.
About 85 to 90 percent of people with macular degeneration have dry conditions. It is due to the formation of small yellow deposits known as drusen beneath the macula.
Macular degeneration symptoms
Macular degeneration is a disease that worsens over time. It implies that it will deteriorate over time.
In the early stages of the disease, you may not notice any vision problems. When both eyes are affected, you are also less likely aware of any vision changes.
The following are the signs and symptoms of dry macular degeneration:
- Retinal degeneration
- Straight-line distortion in your field of vision
- Difficulty adjusting to low-light conditions
- Having difficulty recognizing faces
- A decrease in central vision
- The requirement for brighter lighting
Some symptoms of wet macular degeneration, such as visual distortions and decreased central vision, are similar to those of dry macular degeneration.
You may also experience the following symptoms if you have wet macular degeneration:
- A dark spot in the center of your vision caused by bleeding or leaking blood vessels
- A hazy area in your field of vision
- Symptoms that are rapidly worsening
- Vision haze
Wet macular degeneration advances faster than dry macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration treatments
There is currently no cure for macular degeneration, but your doctor can advise you on ways to slow the disease’s progression. Below is some macular degeneration treatment in Singapore.
Wet macular degeneration treatment
Working with a low-vision rehabilitation specialist will benefit you if you have wet macular degeneration. The specialist can teach you how to cope with and adjust to vision loss.
To prevent the formation of new blood vessels, your doctor may inject medication directly into your eye. These drugs are known as anti-vascular endothelial growth factor medications. Ranibizumab and aflibercept are two examples.
Photodynamic therapy is another treatment option.
There will be an injection of medication into a vein in one of your arms, and then a special laser is used to close up leaking blood vessels. This type of therapy can help you see better, but you may need more than one treatment.
Another option is photocoagulation. Doctors will use high-energy laser beams to destroy abnormal blood vessels in this procedure.
The goal of this therapy is to help stop the bleeding and protect your macula from further damage. On the other hand, the laser can cause scarring and leave a blind spot in your eye. Even if photocoagulation is successful, abnormal
blood vessels can regrow, necessitating another treatment.
Dry macular degeneration treatment
If you have dry macular degeneration, your doctor may advise you to see a low-vision rehabilitation specialist.
They may also recommend surgery to help improve your vision. During the procedure, a telescopic lens will be implanted in your eye to replace the natural lens. It increases the size of your field of vision.
Causes and risk factors for macular degeneration
It’s unclear why some people get macular degeneration while others don’t. Certain factors, however, can increase your chances of contracting the disease.
These risk factors are as follows:
- Being excessively fat
- A high cholesterol level
- Suffering from cardiovascular disease
- Having a history of macular degeneration in one’s family
- Having reached the age of 55
According to research, white people are disproportionately affected by macular degeneration compared to other populations.
Macular degeneration diagnosis
Even if your vision appears to be healthy, it is critical to have an annual eye exam. You should also notify your doctor if you notice any changes in your vision.
Your doctor can perform a variety of tests to diagnose macular degeneration.
They can, for example, use special eye drops to dilate your eyes before inspecting the back of your eyes for signs of fluid, blood, or yellow deposits.
Among the other tests are the following:
Amsler grid test
During an eye exam, doctors can test your central vision when you look at an Amsler grid.
An Amsler grid is a basic grid pattern with a dot in the center. If some of the gridlines appear crooked, this could be a sign of wet macular degeneration.
At home, you can also use an Amsler grid. Download the printable Amsler grid from the internet and proceed as follows:
- Put on your glasses or contact lenses as usual.
- Maintain a distance of 12–15 inches between your face and the Amsler grid.
- With your hand, cover one of your eyes.
- Concentrate your other eye on the dot in the grid’s center.
- Examine the grid lines to see if they are faded, dark, broken, wavy, or otherwise irregular.
- Repeat with the other eye.
Amsler grids are for both diagnosis and monitoring. The goal is to look for changes in line alignment that indicate disease progression.
Your doctor will advise you on how frequently you should use the grid at home.
Your doctor will inject a colored dye into a vein in your arm during fluorescein angiography. When the color reaches your eye, your doctor will be able to examine the blood vessels there. Then, they’ll take pictures with a special
They’ll look at these images to see any problems or changes in your blood vessels or retina.
Indocyanine green angiography
Fluorescein angiography is similar to indocyanine green angiography. In this test, your doctor will inject indocyanine green dye into your arm.
This test is to confirm the results of fluorescein angiography as well as to determine the type of macular degeneration you have.
Optical coherence tomography
Optical coherence tomography entails taking cross-sectional images of the retina to look for swelling, thickening, or thinning.
Your doctor may use this type of test after you’ve been diagnosed with macular degeneration to see how your eyes respond to treatment.
Macular degeneration vitamins
Some vitamins may help slow the progression of late macular degeneration or intermediate macular degeneration, which affects only one eye.
The National Eye Institute has funded two studies that looked at the role of nutritional supplements in the disease. The studies are known as the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and the AREDS2.
Researchers discovered that daily supplementation of vitamins reduced the risk of the intermediate disease progressing to late disease by 25–30% in the initial study. It also reduced the risk of blindness by 19%.
Based on the findings of the 2001 study, the original AREDS multivitamin formula includes:
- Beta carotene (15 mg)
- Vitamin C (500mg)
- Zinc (80mg)
- Vitamin E (400 International Units)
- Copper (2mg)
People who currently or previously smoked should avoid beta carotene. According to a 1994 study involving men who smoke, it increases their risk of developing lung cancer.
According to a 2010 review of the literature, beta carotene increases the risk of lung cancer in women who also smoke.
The introduction of the AREDS2 formula was in 2013. It substituted two other carotenoids for beta carotene:
- Lutein (10mg)
- Vitamin C (500mg)
- Zinc (80mg)
- Vitamin E (400 International Units)
- Copper (2mg)
- Zeaxanthin (2mg)
Consider consulting with your doctor about which vitamin brand to try.
According to a 2015 study, the top-selling eye supplements do not contain the same ingredient profile as the AREDS and AREDS2 supplements. As a result, they may be less effective.
Macular degeneration cannot be prevented, according to experts. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, on the other hand, can help reduce your risk of the disease.
It includes the following:
- As much exercise as possible
- Consuming a healthy diet as frequently as possible
- If you smoke, you should stop.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
Macular degeneration complications
Being unable to perform specific tasks on your own is one of the complications of macular degeneration. Reading and other activities become increasingly difficult as the disease progresses.
People with macular degeneration are frequently unable to drive a car. If your doctor diagnoses you with macular degeneration, you may be required to take vision tests regularly to ensure your ability to drive.
Discussion of other complications is further below.
Anxiety and depression
Up to 39% of people with macular degeneration suffer from depression, which leads to vision loss.
Anxiety is also prevalent. However, people with the condition and those who do not have it eventually have similar anxiety levels.
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, consult your doctor.
They can recommend treatments to help improve your mental health, such as medication, counselling, or a support group for people with vision impairments.
Hallucinations involving images
As your vision deteriorates, your brain may compensate by producing hallucinations or false images. It is not a sign of a mental health issue.
There is an estimation that between 10% and 40% of older people with visual impairment experienced hallucinations due to low-vision stimulation.
If you experience hallucinations, you should talk to your doctor or a support group about them. They can assist you in coping strategies.
Prospects for people suffering from macular degeneration
There is no prevention for macular degeneration, but it can be detected early with regular dilated eye exams. Early macular degeneration treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and reduce vision loss.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have symptoms of macular degeneration or notice other changes in your vision.