Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is incredibly common. It affects patients aged 50 or older. The macula (central part of the retina of the eye) undergoes ageing changes that involve the accumulation of waste products and inflammation. As this process progresses, the macula may degenerate or bleed, causing a reduction in the central vision.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is incredibly common. It affects patients aged 50 or older. The macula (central part of the retina of the eye) undergoes ageing changes that involve the accumulation of waste products and inflammation. As this process progresses, the macula may degenerate or bleed, causing a reduction in the central vision.

What are the symptoms of AMD?

Initially, AMD may not present with any symptoms and many patients will not be aware they have the condition. With more significant disease, central vision will affected, making reading and recognising faces more difficult. Distortion of central vision (straight lines appear kinked) also occurs in AMD.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Absolutely. The main one is simply age – the condition does not occur in those aged under 50 and becomes more prevalent with increasing age. Family history is a further risk factor, as is cigarette smoking.

Broadly speaking, AMD is of two types – dry and wet. The majority of patients have the dry form, which can vary widely between being non-symptomatic to affecting the central vision considerably. Some patients with dry AMD benefit from taking a supplement tablet daily to reduce the rate of progression of disease. A small proportion of patients with dry AMD will transform into the wet type (sometimes called neovascular or exudative). This type of AMD requires injection treatment.

There is. A large study called AREDS2 showed many patients with dry AMD benefit from taking daily vitamin/nutrient supplement as this reduces the rate of progression of disease by about 25%. It is important the supplement taken has the AREDS2 formulation of ingredients in the correct doses. There are now emerging treatments for eyes with the most advanced form of dry AMD known as geographic atrophy.

Without treatment, wet AMD can progress quickly to permanent loss of central vision. Thankfully, treatment with injections into the eye can stabilise vision and sometimes even improve it. Although these sound scary, most patients tolerate them very well. The injections are given under a local anaesthetic and the patient does not see the needle, as this goes into the white of the eye. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the great majority of patients will need a course of injection treatment, sometimes with several dozen injections