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Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a deterioration or breakdown of the macula. The macula is a small area in the retina at the back of the eye that allows you to see fine details clearly. Macular degeneration varies widely in severity. For some people, the disease causes only slight distortion. In more severe cases it can lead to complete loss of central vision. Fortunately, in most cases ARMD does not result in total blindness since it usually does not affect the peripheral vision. This condition may be hardly noticeable in its early stages and sometimes only one eye loses vision while the other eye continues to see well for many years. Some signs and symptoms include loss or distortion of central vision, straight lines may appear wavy or bent, and difficulty reading or seeing detail.
There are two forms of macular degeneration, “wet” and “dry”. Dry ARMD is most common, and typically results in a gradual loss of vision. It is caused by the aging and thinning of the tissues of the macula. Patients with dry AMD are monitored closely for signs of wet ARMD. Some patients routinely check vision at home with an Amsler grid.
With treatment, the chances that dry ARMD will progress to wet AMD are significantly reduced.
Wet AMD accounts for about 10% of all AMD cases. It results when new blood vessels form to improve the blood supply to the oxygen-deprived retinal tissue. The new blood vessels can leak fluid or blood which can blur central vision. Wet AMD is a serious condition that can lead to substantial loss in vision even with aggressive treatment. However, treatment has been shown to increase the chances of regaining some vision, maintaining the patient’s current vision, and/or decreasing the chances of losing further vision.
Many patients with “wet” AMD receive treatment with anti VEGF medications (Lucentis, Avastin, and Macugen). These medicines are injected into the eye approximately every six weeks. These drugs work by blocking an essential signal that causes abnormal blood vessels to grow and leak. Certain types of wet macular degeneration can be treated with laser surgery or Photodynamic therapy. These procedures may preserve more overall sight, though they do not restore vision to normal.
I have benefited tremendously from the eye care I received from Brandon Eye Associates
John/ Brandon, FL
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