is a breakdown of the crucial central portion of the
that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve
from the eye to the brain, called the macula.
This disease robs people of the
central vision needed to see fine details directly in front of them recognize a
familiar face across a room or read words on the printed page.
There are two types of Age-related
macular degeneration (AMD):
degeneration the more common, less destructive form occurs when deposits called
drusen collect behind the retina. Wet AMD can pose a more rapid and serious
threat to vision. With this type new blood vessels and scar tissue grow beneath
the retina where they my leak blood or fluid and blur central vision. Only 10%
of people with AMD have the wet type but it account for 90% of serve
vision from the disease.
WHO'S AT RISK ?
Age is the biggest risk factor for
developing AMD. Others include, a family history of AMD, cigarette
smoking, long - term
exposure to sunlight,
elevated levels of cholesterol.
For unknown reasons women are more likely to develop AMD, than men.
Slightly blurry vision is the most
common one. You may need more reading light and you may have trouble recognizing
faces until you are very close to them. As dry AMD progresses you may see a
blurred spot in the centre of your vision that gets bigger and darker over time.
The first warning sign of wet AMD
may be straight lines that appear crooked or way.
However there may be no symptoms
in the disease's earliest stage. That's why regular eye exams are so important.
If those who at risk for
advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) took daily supplements of
than 300,000 people could avoid AMD-associated vision loss
Diagnosis of the condition is made by vision test and by examination
of the retina with an ophthalmoscope. If there is a possibility of wet
macular degeneration, then fluorescein angiography may be carried out to
check for abnormal blood vessels.
PREVENT IT ?
A balanced diet consisting of
plenty of fruits and vegetables can provide the nutrients found the be
beneficial to the eyes specifically in relation to AMD. These include the
(found in nuts & leafy greens) and zinc (found in beef, milk, yogurt and eggs).
How do they work
in preventing AMD? Free radicals molecules that can damage cells are formed as a
by- product of metabolism and the macula has the right rate of metabolisms in
the body. The macula is also high in
acids which are especially susceptible to free - radical attack. Antioxidant
can neutralize free radicals preventing them for harming healthy cells.
There's no cure for AMD. But,
dry AMD develops slowly and most people are able to lead a normal life
especially if the disease affect only one eye. Results of a well - designed U.S.
clinical trial offered the first substantial hope of slowing the damage from
macular degeneration. The national eye institute 's Age - Related Eye Disease
Study (A R E D S) involved some 3.600 people with the disease. They took either
a supplement containing zinc, one with antioxidant vitamins, mixture of both or
a placebo. After six years, people with lots of drusen but good vision in both
eyes and those with advanced macular degeneration in one year only had a 25 per
cent lower risk of further damage.
researches recommend that
people with intermediate disease or with macular or with advanced macular
degeneration in one eye should discuss with their doctor about taking a daily
supplement of 500 milligrams of
400 milligrams of vitamin E, 15 milligrams of
80 milligrams of zinc as zinc oxide and 2 milligrams of
The wet form of
macular degeneration is caused by the abnormal growth of fragile blood vessels
in the retina that leak blood and cause damage to the light-sensitive
photoreceptor cells. The new drug, called
works by blocking vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a protein that
promotes blood vessel growth. Macugen has the potential for helping all patients
with the wet form of the disease, whereas the currently approved treatment, photodynamic therapy, is only approved for patients that have a subtype of
wet macular degeneration.
For wet AMD, 20 to 40 % of
cases when they're caught early can be treated with, laser surgery or with a new
combination of a drug (verteporfin) and a laser therapy procedure called ocular
To help you see better you doctor
may recommend a variety of low - vision aids and strategies such as magnifiers,
large-print books and bright lights.
Try eating more spinach. A
study published in 1999 found that 13 out of 14 people with AMD who ate 1/2 cup
of spinach four to seven times a week for a year hand improvements in their
vision seven out of eight with serious vision distortion had improvements or
complete resolution of their symptoms.