February 1, 2023
FEBRUARY IS AMD AWARENESS MONTH
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a growing issue, not only in the USA but around the world. If you are of European descent you have a higher risk of being affected by AMD.
Today, AMD is the number one cause of severe vision loss and legal blindness in Americans over the age of 50. In 2010, 9.1 million were diagnosed with early AMD. That number is projected to grow to 17.8 million by 2050. In 2020, about 3 million people had advanced AMD,
AMD, what is it?
It’s a deterioration of the macula, the small central area of the eye’s retina. It is a progressive disease, it can diminish your ability to read, recognize faces, drive, watch television, or even sign your name. AMD can affect daily tasks that require central vision. It affects your vision whether you’re looking at something close or in the distance. For instance, imagine a clock with hands. With AMD, you might see a standard wall clock’s numbers, but not the hands. You can see most of your desk but not the phone on your desk.
AMD affects people differently, everyone has different timing. Some patients can take years to start losing their vision. Others lose vision more quickly and may lose sight in both eyes. AMD itself doesn’t lead to complete blindness. AMD has a devastating effect on the patient's independence when they lose central vision.
The Two Types of AMD: Wet and Dry.
All AMD starts out as the dry form. Dry AMD affects nearly 80 percent of the population. Age-related thinning of the macula causes clumps of a protein called drusen to grow in the macula. Dry AMD is treated with AREDS 2 vitamin formulations. There are 2 types: with zinc and without zinc. We do AMD genetic testing to determine which formulation is correct for a patient and whether there is a benefit to using AREDS 2 vitamins at all. The genetic testing also tells us how likely it is that the disease will progress and how genetic it is- in other words can you pass it on to your children.
Dry AMD can progress to a more severe form called geographic atrophy where patches of retina drop out and create blind spots. The FDA just approved a new drug for the treatment of this form of dry AMD which slows down vision loss. The drug is called SYFOVRE. It is given as an intraocular injection. It is not yet available to your ophthalmologist, however within 2-3 months it will be.
Dry AMD can progress to wet AMD. It is less common but very serious. It causes new, abnormal blood vessels to grow under the retina. These abnormal blood vessels leak and cause loss of vision.
While there is no cure (yet) for AMD, injections into the eye can block the growth of new abnormal blood vessels in people with advanced neovascular (wet) AMD. The injections frequently improve vision and can stabilize the disease. Other options depend on the type of AMD.
Healthy habits help in the fight against AMD
Avoid smoking (it doubles your risk of getting AMD as well as other eye diseases)
- Exercise regularly, Walking, riding a bike, and joining a gym
- Maintaining normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, diet, and exercise with proper meds can help keep you in check
- Avoid smoking (smoking can double your risk of getting AMD and other eye diseases too)
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of green leafy vegetables, lean meats, and fish. Stay away from processed food and meats.
What’s important is you get regular eye exams, and contact Island Retina if you notice any changes in your vision.
Contact us Today!