What is age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative disease of the central area of the retina (the macula), and is the most frequent cause of irreversible and severe vision loss in patients over 60 years of age in the countries developed.
The disease usually begins in one eye, and later appears in the contralateral eye, making the patient unaware of the disease, unless the healthy eye is covered when the other is already diseased.
Why does AMD occur?
There are factors that predispose to the appearance of amd, such as age, genetic predisposition, solar radiation, smoking, an unbalanced diet, and other factors such as diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, or high lipid and cholesterol levels.
Eye with AMD
How does AMD manifest?
In AMD there is a loss of central vision due to the involvement of the macula, making it difficult to carry out activities of daily living such as reading, watching television, driving… On the other hand, other symptoms such as:
There are two variants of AMD:
ATROPHIC OR DRY AMD: it is the most frequent amd (80%). It has a slow evolution, in which the macula loses cells that do not regenerate (it atrophies). There is no known treatment with successful results. Antioxidant vitamin supplements are often given as prevention, which can slow the progression of the disease if started early enough, but do not improve vision.
THE EXUDATIVE OR WET AMD: rapid vision loss occurs due to the growth of blood vessels that allow the passage of blood and fluids to the macula. In wet AMD, several antiangiogenic drugs are available, they slow down the growth of blood vessels and therefore stop the evolution of the disease. These drugs are given as intravitreal injections.
Being a degenerative disease associated with the passing of the years, it cannot be prevented.
However, measures can be taken in patients who have a greater predisposition to suffer amd (smokers, diabetics, hypertensive…), modifying lifestyle: control diet, exercise, keep good control of underlying pathologies such as diabetes or hypertension, and undergo periodic eye examinations from the age of 50.
It appears after the age of 50 due to the aging of the macula.
Loss of central vision (difficulty driving, reading, writing, watching television…).
It is advisable to perform an annual ophthalmological review after the age of 50.
Healthy diet, rich in vitamins and antioxidants, avoid tobacco.