Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a chronic, degenerative disease of the eye.6 It affects a critical area in the center of the retina called the macula.2,7 The macula’s job is to help us see the fine details in front of us such as the words in a book and the images on a television.6,7 So, while the entire retina lets you see the book in front of you, the macula helps you see the words in it. It is this part of the eye that starts to weaken in some people with age.
There are two types of AMD:1-3 Dry AMD and Wet AMD (nAMD or wAMD).2,4,5
Dry AMD progresses slowly and is less severe than the wet AMD.6 However, both these types of AMD damage the central vision, that helps us see the fine details around us.
In wet AMD, a protein called VEGF (i.e. Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) causes new abnormal blood vessels to grow in the retina and macular region, which impairs/harms our vision.2,3,6,7,10
AMD remains a leading cause of severe vision loss in people aged over 50 years.1,7,9,10
Wet AMD can be effectively controlled with different treatment options.6
Imagine eye blood vessels as the roots of a tree and concrete as the centre of the back of the eye (i.e retina)2
When abnormal blood vessels grow, they cause distortion in vision, here depicted as cracks in the concrete, eventually leading to loss of vision2
Symptoms of AMD include changes in the vision that are given in the sections below:6,17
These changes might first be noticed on doing the Amsler grid test.5,7,9,12
A number of risk factors predispose certain people to the development and progression of the disease, including:
Here are certain measures to safeguard oneself from these risk factors such as -
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15. Klein R, et al. Prevalence of age-related maculopathy. Ophthalmology. 1992;99:933-943.
16. Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss. Arch Ophthalmol. 2001;119:1417-1436.
17. Moutray T, Chakravarthy U. Age related macular degeneration (AMD): clinical features and clinical management. Intemational Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. 2013.
19. Crossland M, Rubin G; The Amsler chart: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence; Br J Ophthalmol. 2007;91:391-393.
20. Kaiser PK, Treatment of Age-related Macular Degeneration with Photodynamic Therapy (TAP) Study Group. Verteporfin therapy of subfoveal choroidal neovascularization in age-related macular degeneration: 5-year results of two randomized clinical trials with an open-label extension TAP Report No. 8. Graefe's Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2006;244:1132-1142.
21. LUCENTIS Summary of Product Characteristics. Novartis AG; Sept. 2015.
22. Brody BL, et al. Depression, visual acuity, comorbidity. and disability associated with age-related macular degeneration. Ophthalmology. 2001;108: 1893-1901.
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