Macular degeneration is the leading cause of loss of vision among people over the age of 65.
Sometimes the disease can affect patients who are younger.
It is a process of wear and tear in the macula, which is the centre part of the vision in the eye. Usually it affects both eyes with either gradual or abrupt loss of vision.
It can affect your ability to read, drive and see fine details.
There are two types of macular degeneration – the dry type and the wet type.
What are my symptoms with each type of macular degeneration?
With the dry type of macular degeneration, letters may look blurry and lines wavy since cells in portions of the centre part of the vision in the macula have begun to die, leaving blind spots in your vision.
With the wet type of macular degeneration, you may see dark spots in the centre of your vision due to fluid / blood underneath the macula. Straight lines may appear wavy because of fluid underneath the macula. Abnormal blood vessels are fragile and leak fluid and blood, causing bulging of the macula that results in distortion.
How can you diagnose macular degeneration?
The diagnosis of macular degeneration is made with a comprehensive ophthalmic examination, assisted with additional investigations like OCT, FFA (fluorescein angiogram). This can confirm wet macular degeneration.
What is the treatment for macular degeneration?
For the dry type of macular degeneration, there is ongoing research being performed to determine how to prevent the disease.
For the wet type of macular degeneration intravitreal injections (which are injections to the eye) are used to dry up leaking blood vessels and to prevent them from continuing to grow. Multiple doses of monthly injections may be required till the disease process stops. Despite treatment, vision loss may occur. Improvement in vision or stabilization of the vision is dependent upon each individual patient’s lesion in the retina. There are encouraging results with these medications