Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Are you searching for a macular degeneration doctor in the greater Boise area? Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease of the macula, which is the area of the retina responsible for our central and most important vision. AMD affects both distance and close vision and can make some activities like threading a needle or reading very difficult or impossible. Usually, macular degeneration does not result in total blindness since the peripheral vision typically remains normal.
Dry vs Wet Macular Degeneration
AMD is classified as either dry or wet (also called neovascular). AMD starts out as dry without symptoms and may only be detected upon examination. Deposits in the macula called drusen develop and can cause mild blurring and distortion. There is no treatment available for dry AMD.
Wet (neovascular) AMD occurs due to the development of abnormal blood vessels underneath the macula that leak and bleed. People often notice a sudden and dramatic decrease or distortion in vision. And when this occurs, it is imperative that you be evaluated and treated as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Left untreated, the blood vessels will continue to leak and bleed resulting in scarring of the central macula. The wet form affects 10-15% of individuals with AMD and accounts for 90% of all cases of severe vision loss from the disease.
People with intermediate or worse dry AMD benefit from a certain formulation of vitamins to decrease their risk of converting to wet AMD. The National Eye Institute conducted a large clinical trial called The Age-Related Eye Disease Study2 (AREDS2) and found the following formulation most beneficial: Vitamin C (500 mg), Vitamin E (400 IU), Lutein (10 mg), Zeaxanthin (2 mg), Zinc (80 mg), Copper (2 mg). There are many vitamin resources available with this specific formulation and are over the counter. No prescription is necessary. It is important to remember that these vitamins are not a cure for dry AMD but may slow down the progression of the disease.
Treatment for wet AMD involves injecting medication directly in the eye typically every 4 weeks until blood vessels are shut down. The medications include Avastin (Bevacizumab), Eylea (Aflibercept) and Lucentis (Ranibizumab). However, treatment may be continued on a maintenance basis to prevent any reoccurrence of leakage and or bleeding and to maintain vision.
There is no cure for wet AMD. It is not known why some people develop AMD and others do not.
There are several known risk factors:
- The risk of developing AMD increases with age. It is most commonly seen after the age of 50
- AMD is much more common in Caucasians
- A diet that includes few fruits and vegetables and bad fats vs healthy fats can increase the risk of AMD
- Elevated cholesterol
- Cardiovascular disease
- Smoking increases the risk of AMD
François D. Trotta and the team at Idaho Retina are delighted to serve people in the Boise, Meridian, Nampa and the Caldwell areas. Call us today to schedule your macular degeneration screening.