Age Related Macular degeneration (AMD) is an age-related condition that leads to vision loss in the center of the
field of vision. Along with glaucoma, AMD is one of the leading causes of vision loss in Americans
65 years of age and older.
There are two main types of age related macular degeneration, categorized as “dry” and “wet”.
Dry Age Related Macular Degeneration is the most common form of AMD, occurring in about 85-90% of patients that are diagnosed with AMD. As we age, the tissue around the macula, the part of our eye that is responsible for central vision, begins to thin and deteriorate. As the tissue breaks down, it deposits debris around the macula that form yellowish spots and distort your vision. It is through those yellowish spots that Dr. Schottenstein can diagnose dry AMD. Since Dry AMD is a very early stage of the disease, central vision loss can be very gradual.
Wet Age Related Macular Degeneration is the advanced form of dry AMD, where new blood vessels begin to grow beneath the retina due to a natural recovery process of your body known as choroidal neovascularization (CNV). The purpose of the blood vessels is to provide the retina with nutrients to help it regenerate, but instead, the blood vessels leak blood and fluid, causing severe scarring that can lead to vision loss. While wet AMD is fairly rare, with only about 10% of patients having their AMD reach this advanced stage, it is far more damaging and can lead to more accelerated vision loss.
Wet AMD can be split into two categories: occult and classic. When wet AMD is referred to as “occult” the blood vessel growth is not as prominent, and there is less blood and fluid leaking into the retina. Occult AMD and the vision loss caused by it is less severe.
Classic AMD is when the blood vessel growth, scarring, and leaking of blood and fluid is much more pronounced, and can actually be seen beneath the retina.In the case of classic AMD, vision loss is rapid and very severe.
The exact cause of dry age related macular degeneration is still unknown, but aging and genetics are suggested contributing factors of this condition. There is no cure for age related macular degeneration, but there are treatments available that may help slow down the progression of the disease or possibly even improve vision.
Treatment for AMD varies on a case-to-case basis, since it depends on the stage and severity of the AMD. For dry AMD, there are no FDA-approved treatment methods that are available, but there are clinical trials that are testing possible cures and treatments. There has been some progress with certain therapies that are focused around nutrition, that have shown to help prevent dry AMD progressing into the more serious stage of wet AMD. There is treatment for wet AMD that will help prevent the development of more abnormal blood vessels, limiting the damage done to the eye and slowing vision loss. Treatment methods for wet AMD include:
While AMD usually progresses slowly with little to no symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Schottenstein for an eye examination if you start to notice any changes in your vision. Having trouble reading in low light, blurriness, a blind spot, or seeing colors as faded are just a few of the signs that can signal macular degeneration. Dr. Schottenstein will help you manage your AMD and provide proper treatment to help you keep your eyes healthy and your eyesight clear.
Contact us or stop by our local office, and we’ll happily answer any questions that you may have about AMD, treatment, and any of our other eye care services. We proudly help patients in the Upper West Side, ChelseaNew York, and the surrounding areas.