Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative disease of the retina that mainly affects the macula, the center of vision, and is the leading cause of blindness in patients over 55 years of age.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration is a genetic disease influenced, above all, by 4 factors:
- Genetics: It is a hereditary disease with a very high frequency, affecting up to 22% of Caucasians, being somewhat less prevalent in pigmented races. In the United States, it is estimated that out of a population of 324 million inhabitants, 11 million patients suffer from blindness due to age-related macular degeneration..
- Tobacco: It is a potent oxidant and has a very negative influence on the progression of the disease.
- Light exposure: Increased exposure to light, both natural and artificial, is associated with an increased risk of AMD progression. It is always advisable to reduce exposure with sunglasses. In intermediate and advanced cases it may be advisable to use filters for visible and invisible blue light.
- Cardiovascular disease: A diet rich in antioxidants helps protect against progression. Conversely, a poor diet will increase the risk of disease progression.
- Dry AMD (atrophic): This type of macular degeneration is due to the accumulation of drusen, yellowish deposits under the retina, causing progressive atrophy of the retina. It is usually asymptomatic and predisposes to acute bleeding and central retinal atrophy. It requires periodic controls and it is recommended to take antioxidants, a balanced diet, reduce light exposure (in some cases with blue light filters) and not to smoke.
- Wet or Bleeding AMD: Proliferation of new blood vessels that destroy central vision. The natural progression of wet age-related macular degeneration can cause central blindness.
- Blurred vision: Decreased central vision (distance vision and reading ability are reduced).
- Distorted vision: Straight lines are perceived as wavy.
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There are two types of treatments for Macular Degeneration:
Intravitreal Antiangiogenic (Anti-VEGF) Therapy (Anti-VEGF) is the treatment of choice in wet (bleeding) age-related macular degeneration, and consists of serial injections of intraocular medication aimed at inactivating new vascular lesions.
Laser Treatment: Isolated or associated with the use of intravenous medication with activity on new vascularization such as Verteporfin, it is sometimes used to improve disease control.
Surgery: exceptionally, intraocular surgery may be required for the treatment of massive hemorrhages or other retinal disorders.
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