Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a hereditary disorder that affects your retina. The retina is responsible for sensing light and sending signals to your brain so you can see.  The part of the retina that is affected by this disorder is called the macula. The macula is an area in center of the retina that allows you to see the details of objects in the center of your vision. There are two main types of AMD that affect this area:

 1.  Dry AMD – this is the most common form of AMD and accounts for 80% of AMD cases. This form of AMD causes the tissue of the macula to thin, while also creating clumps of protein called drusen that form under this layer of tissue. It slowly causes a decrease of your central vision if not managed by a doctor.

2.   Wet AMD – This form of AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels begin to develop under the retina. These vessels leak fluid or blood, which causes scarring of the retina. This form of AMD is much more serious and is vision threatening.


What Causes AMD?

There is no direct cause of AMD, however it is associated with the following:

  • Family history of AMD
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Caucasian heritage
  • Eating a diet high in fats


What Is The Treatment For AMD?

Currently, there is no treatment available for dry AMD.  Nutritional supplements, especially those containing lutein and zeaxanthin, have shown to slow the progression of the dry form of the disease. The wet form of AMD is treated primarily with anti-VEGF injections to the back of the eye.  This type of drug reduces the amount of abnormal blood vessels growing into the macula to decrease the amount of leakage and scarring on the macula.


How Is AMD Diagnosed?

AMD is diagnosed by your ophthalmologist during your dilated eye exam. Your doctor will note the presence of drusen (protein deposits) in dry AMD or the presence of abnormal blood vessels and bleeding in the wet form. Your doctor may ask you to monitor your vision using an amsler grid. If the lines on the amsler grid begin to become wavy, your AMD may be worsening.


 Contact Your Birmingham, AL AMD Specialist Today!

If you have been diagnosed with macular degeneration or have a family history of macular degeneration, it is very important to have a dilated eye exam at least once a year.  If you would like to make an appointment to be evaluated for AMD or for your annual dilated exam, contact us today.