The retina is the tissue behind the eye that senses light. Degeneration of the central part of the retina, called the macula, can affect vision. It is also called “age-related macular degeneration or wet macular degeneration” (AMD) because it is a major cause of severe and permanent vision loss in people over the age of 60.
Macular degeneration does not cause complete blindness, but it can impair much of your vision. There are two types of macular degeneration, “wet” and “dry”.
In dry macular degeneration, a yellow deposit called drusen develops in the macula. Some little drusen can’t change your eyesight. But as they grow and grow in number, they may darken or distort your eyesight, especially when you are reading. It may start at the blind spot in the center of your eyesight. As it gets worse, you may lose central vision.
What is Wet Macular Degeneration?
Blood vessels grow from under the macula. Due to abnormal growth, these blood vessels leak and damage your central vision. This distorts the field of view and makes the straight lines wavy. In addition, there may be blind spots and loss of central vision.
Wet ADM is less common, but more severe than dry macular degeneration. Dry ADM can take years to cause damage, but wet ADM can affect vision in a week. It starts without any symptoms, but gradually you start to feel a difference in your eyesight.
Early detection of damp ADM can help preserve existing vision or restore lost vision.
Symptoms and causes
Symptoms may go unnoticed until both eyes are affected.
Some common symptoms include those that appear to be twisted or out of shape. A rare symptom is that it takes a long time for the eyes to adjust when entering a dark room from sunlight.
Some of the most common symptoms of wet macular degeneration are:
- Blurred vision
- Dark areas of your central vision
- A straight line that looks like a bend
- Facing problems in recognizing faces
- Unable to read in dimly lit places or facing problems
- Clear blind spots or blurred spots in the field of view
- Decreased color intensity or brightness
Wet AMD has several causes, two of which are the most common
Age-related macular degeneration mainly occurs in adults 55 years and older. Most often, wet AMD is caused by age.
Genetics also plays an important role in your diagnosis. For example, if someone in your family has AMD, AMD is more likely to get wet.
Other causes are:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Eat lots of saturated fat
- Light eye color
- Thin skin
- Being a woman
When to see a doctor
Eye problems are very easy to detect for those who have them. Therefore, if it is difficult to see, see a doctor immediately.
If you notice a change in central vision, or if you have difficulty seeing colors or details, you may have wet macular degeneration.
If you experience any of the above symptoms for more than a week, it is advisable to see a doctor.
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It is important to have regular eye examinations that can detect wet macular degeneration early. This is because AMD can undo what it detects early and prevent all vision from being affected.
Cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure can also cause AMD. If you have other medical conditions, it is important to treat and manage them.
Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine can reduce your chances of getting sick. Especially fish rich in omega 3 oil are very useful.
Smokers are more likely to develop the disease than nonsmokers. Smoking can also lead to more life-threatening illnesses. So it is wise to quit smoking.
Your doctor may recommend some tests to confirm the diagnosis of macular degeneration. These include:
- Examination behind the eyes
- Tests to detect defects in the center of vision
- Fluorescein angiography
- Indocyanine green angiography
- Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT): This is a non-invasive imaging test showing a detailed cross section of the retina.
- Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Angiography: A new non-invasive test that allows doctors to see unwanted blood vessels in the macula in certain cases
Wet AMD cannot be completely cured, but there are treatments to stop it from spreading or to regain blind vision if detected early.
The first thing you should do is make some lifestyle changes. It may be helpful to exercise regularly, eat a nutritious diet, and quit smoking. Vitamins C & D, copper, and zinc can help turn dry AMD into moist macular degeneration.
Certain drugs block the signals that the body sends to create new blood vessels. Prescribing these drugs is the first step a doctor takes in the treatment process.
The drugs used to treat wet macular degeneration are:
Doctors may inject these drugs into the affected eye every 4 to 6 weeks.
- Photodynamic therapy: During this treatment, the doctor injects a drug called verteporfin into a vein in the arm. This drug travels to the blood vessels in your eyes. The doctor then shines a special laser focused on the abnormal blood vessels in the eye. This activates the drug, closing abnormal blood vessels and stopping leaks.
- Photocoagulation.. During this treatment, doctors use a high-energy laser beam to close the abnormal blood vessels under the macula.
- Low vision rehabilitation.. Age-related macular degeneration does not affect peripheral (lateral) vision and usually does not cause complete blindness. However, it can reduce or eliminate your central vision — it is essential for reading, driving and recognizing people’s faces. In these situations, it may be beneficial to work with a low vision rehabilitation specialist.
Early detection of eye problems increases the likelihood of treatment. Wet AMD is rare and serious, but if detected early, it can be stopped or even reinstated.
Your lifestyle plays a big role in diagnosing this disease. For example, people with cardiovascular problems or high blood pressure are more likely to catch AMD.
Talk to your ophthalmologist if you see bends or waves on a flat surface, or if you have difficulty seeing details.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is it possible to lose sight from weapons of mass destruction?
Wet macular degeneration does not cause complete blindness. The effects can be very serious, but peripheral vision is always maintained. Unfortunately, because the light-sensing cells are damaged, eyesight is not the same as before and affects our daily lives.
If any of my parents have weapons of mass destruction, do I have them too?
There is no guarantee. People do not need to develop weapons of mass destruction if their families are suffering from weapons of mass destruction. Although the chances of having it are higher than those without a family with macular degeneration.
You will see a blank spot in the center of your field of view. Is it AMD?
Maybe. They can also be floaters. Floater can cast shadows in the eyes. Move your eyes quickly to stop. For floaters, it will continue to move for a few seconds. The best way to find out what you have is to consult a doctor.