Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a problem of the retina, the light sensing part of the eye. The macula is the portion responsible for central vision. AMD comes in 2 varieties: dry and wet.
Dry macular degeneration involves an accumulation of a waste product under the retina called drusen. There is no treatment, however, a large study was done (AREDS) that showed a special formulation of vitamins can slow its progression. These vitamins include Vitamin C and E, Lutein, Copper, Zinc and Zeaxanthin.
The wet type is less common but is associated with a much more rapid and severe visual loss. It is called wet due to abnormal blood vessels that leak blood and other material from the bloodstream leading to scar formation. This type does not have a cure but there are therapies available such as injectable medications to help decrease the amount of damage related to leakage.
The main risk factors for AMD are age, history of smoking, coronary artery disease and high cholesterol levels, as well as Caucasian race and family history. Because AMD is chronic and progressive, patients may not know they are affected until a very late stage. A good screening tool is something called an Amsler grid that can pick up distortions and disruptions in central vision.
The best way to know if you are at risk is to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist for an exam. During this visit, eye drops will be instilled to dilate the pupil to allow for a thorough retinal exam and ancillary tests performed to evaluate the anatomy and vasculature of the retina.
Florida Eye Clinic is located at 2460 Hwy 50 in Clermont, 352-708-7080