Age-Related Macular Degeneration Explained

Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD), is the deterioration of the small central area in the retina responsible for detail central vision, called the macula. The function of the macula is to ensure that you can read, recognise people’s faces, drive and be able to perform many tasks that require you to see the finer details.

CAUSES OF AMD/ARMD
Other than age, macular degeneration has been linked to various risk factors such as being overweight, and lifestyle factors which include smoking, high blood pressure and having a family history of AMD.

TYPES OF AMD/ARMD
There are two prominent types of ARMD namely;

Dry Macular Degeneration: This type of ARMD is the most common and develops gradually. There is no treatment for this ARMD, although patients need to learn certain ways of coping with the loss of their central vision.

Wet Macular Degeneration: This type is caused by abnormal blood vessels that develop under the central macula area of the retina, causing fluid and blood to leak and cause vision loss. Wet ARMD progresses rapidly but can be treated through laser, photodynamic therapy (PDT) or anti-angiogenic therapy. Should the symptoms appear, this type of ARMD should be treated immediately to reduce permanent damage.

PREVENTATIVE MEASURES:

If you are a smoker, the best thing to do is to stop smoking immediately. Smokers are at a higher risk of attaining ARMD than those who do not smoke.

Improve your diet to include green and yellow vegetables as well as omega-rich foods. Spinach, fish, and nuts are some of the healthy foods you can eat to maintain healthy eyes.

Exercise as often as possible to keep a healthy weight.

Always remember to wear your sunnies when you’re outside or driving. Blocking harmful UV light from entering the already diseased eye prevents additional damage.

To learn more about this condition, speak to our Vision Work Optometrists who will be happy to answer any questions you have relating to ARMD. Our friends at Retina SA would love to also help you cope with ARMD.