One of the leading causes of vision loss for people as they grow older is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It is a common, yet progressive, disease that affects a part of the retina called the macula. The macula is a critical part of the eye that is heavily relied upon for reading, scrolling through our electronics, and driving. Once the macula is damaged, your vision can become blurred or distorted.
Here is some more information about this degenerative vision disease and ways your optometrist will treat it.
While AMD is common, it is also very serious; it is the leading cause of severe vision loss in the developed world according to the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. Being that it is a subtle yet progressive disease, if not caught early enough it can create irreversible damage, including vision loss. Having regularly scheduled eye exams with your optometrist is the preventive measure that is needed to avoid severe outcomes.
It is important to note that there are two different types: dry AMD (nonexecudative) and the wet AMD (exudative) type. Dry Macular Degeneration is the most common and it progresses slowly and affects the majority of people at some point in their lives. The Wet version is less common, more aggressive and if left untreated, has a 90% chance of causing vision loss.
There are two main risk factors your eye doctor will ask you about: your age and family history. Your chances of developing AMD are significantly higher for people over the age of 75. While people aged 43-54 have an 8% risk, people over 75 have a 36% risk. Other contributing risk factors include gender (with females being more prone), ethnicity (fair skin tones are often affected more), smoking, UV light exposure, and obesity.
While there may not be a surefire way to prevent AMD, it is highly treatable. Treatment options through your Calgary eye doctor include:
- There are also several medications that your optometrist can administer into the affected eye to slow the progression of the disease.
- Any doctor will agree that a healthy diet and supplement regime will help your body be at it’s best. Studies show that a variety of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals can protect the eyes against progressing AMD.
- Photocoagulation is a form of laser therapy that can help seal the enlarged blood vessels that are affecting your vision.
- Anti-VEGF therapy is a way to treat Wet Macular Degeneration by injecting specific growth-inhibiting treatments into the eye to slow or prevent new blood vessels from forming. The four types of medication options to do this are Aflibercept (Eylea), Brolucizumab (Beovu), Bevacizumab (Avastin) and Ranibizumab (Lucentis).
- Early detection through regular eye exams is the most effective way to catch AMD early and ensure it does not progress towards total vision loss.
Your Macular Degeneration Specialists in Calgary
AMD is a treatable, common eye disease that can be corrected with proper care. Routine check-ups with your local Calgary eye doctor are your best line of defense to avoid serious complications. Reach out to the team at My Optometrist Calgary by visiting either Calgary location (Sunridge NE, Sundance SE), or the Three Hills location by calling or filling out the contact form below.
Q: Can AMD cause blindness?
A: Because there is often no pain associated with the onset of AMD, late detection can lead to serious vision problems. Vision loss and distortion may be irreversible if left untreated for too long. It is important to care for the health of your eyes by having regular visits with your eye doctor to prevent this outcome.
Q: Is there a cure for AMD?
A: While there is no “cure” or way to reverse the condition, it can certainly be treated with medications and therapies that your optometrist will determine by examining your eyes, medical and family history.
Q: Are AMD treatments painful?
A: Photocoagulation uses a laser to help shrink the enlarged blood vessels and is considered a painless light therapy. Anti-VEGF injections are completed under a topical anesthesia so you feel no discomfort.