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How do you Treat Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
25th February, 2015
Have you noticed your sight blurring as you’ve gotten older? If so, read on, The Eye Blog asks: how do you treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?
Your eyes change as they age
As you age your body changes. Your eyes are no exception and this could impact your sight. One of the most common changes to your sight that you might begin to notice as you age is that it may start to blur. It may be harder to see what’s right in front of you.
If you notice this change it may be a sign that you have developed a condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). If you want to safeguard your sight to ensure you can continue to see into old-age you need to know what this condition is and how you can treat it.
What is AMD?
According to the NHS, AMD is a painless eye condition that usually leads to a gradual loss of central vision, however it can also lead to a rapid loss of vision. AMD effects both eyes, although the rate it progresses can differ from eye to eye.
The condition is caused when the part of the eye responsible for central vision (macula) is no longer able to function as effectively as it did before AMD developed. There are two types of AMD:
– Dry AMD: The most common and least serious type, dry AMD occurs when the cells of the macula become damaged as a result of the build-up of drusen, a waste product in the eye. Nine out of ten cases of AMD are dry.
– Wet AMD: This is the more serious type of AMD. Untreated it can cause your vision to deteriorate within days. Wet AMD occurs when the macula is damaged by abnormal blood vessels that grow up underneath it.
How can you spot AMD?
Either way, AMD is a serious condition and if you’ve developed it you need to treat it. As such you need to know how to spot the symptoms that indicate you’ve developed AMD.
At this point it’s important to remember that AMD effects your central vision. This is the vision that’s responsible for seeing what’s right in front of you. It doesn’t affect your peripheral vision; the vision that’s responsible for seeing outside the centre of your gaze. As such there are certain vision-related symptoms that indicate you may have developed AMD. These include:
– Difficulty seeing people’s faces.
– Colours looking less vibrant.
– Finding it difficult to read because the text appears ‘blurry.’
There’s a reason it’s called ‘age-related’ macular degeneration
If you have developed one of these symptoms, you need to go see your optician. However it’s also important to note that there’s a reason this condition is called ‘age-related’ macular degeneration. It’s more common in older people.
Evidence suggests that AMD affects 500,000 in the UK in some way or another. It’s the leading cause of vision impairment in this country. AMD is most commonly found in people over 50. Predictions suggest that one in every ten people who are 65 or older have developed AMD to some degree. Therefore if you notice the above symptoms and are over the age of 50, you should book an appointment with your optician immediately to determine whether you have AMD.
How to treat dry and wet AMD
Once you have gone to the optician, they will suggest a course of treatment. This leads us to the main point of this article; how do you treat AMD?
There is no cure for AMD, however it is possible to treat both types of the condition to reduce the impact it has on your sight. The treatment depends on which type of AMD you have developed…
– Dry AMD: This condition is treated with the prescription of glasses with magnifying lenses. These help you make the most of your remaining vision.
-Wet AMD: The more serious type of AMD must be diagnosed early and treated straight away to reduce the risk of loss of vision. The optician will prescribe you with anti-VEGF medication to treat Wet AMD. This medication prevents the development of more blood vessels which could damage your sight.
Treat AMD by changing your diet
Yet there is some evidence to suggest that you may be able to slow the progression of dry AMD by changing your diet. Studies have shown that adding more leafy green vegetables into your diet could slow the onset of this type of AMD.
A recent study has illustrated why the inclusion of green leafy vegetables may slow the onset of dry AMD. According to Nutra Ingredients-USA, research has proved that the carotenoid in leafy green vegetables, lutein, helps protect the macula from degeneration.
Reduce the damage AMD can reap on your vision
Therefore there is evidence to suggest that there are several ways you can treat age-related macular degeneration. There is no cure for the condition however it’s possible to treat both dry and wet AMD to reduce the damage they can reap on your vision.
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