What is Macular Degeneration?
AMD is degeneration of the macula, which is the part of the retina (in the back of your eye) responsible for the sharp, central vision needed to read or drive. Age-related macular degeneration is the #1 cause of vision loss and blindness among Americans who are age 65 and older. It is very common.
What Causes ARMD
ARMD is damage to the RPE layer, which is in direct contact with the photosensitive layer of the retina. This damage is caused by a combination of genetic and age-related factors. Recent evidence also points to blue light as a contributing factor to ARMD, which suggests that wearing sunglasses may help prevent ARMD related vision loss. As a result, our office has available Crizal Prevencia, a special lens designed to be worn indoors that blocks blue light and has been shown to slow progression of ARMD.
Sadly, there is no treatment to fully reverse Dry ARMD. However, you can avoid the harmful light that causes ARMD by wearing protective lenses such as Crizal Prevencia lenses or sunglasses. Also, studies show that the AREDS 2 vitamin formula can slow the progression of ARMD and prevent vision loss. Since the vitamin has little to no side effects for non-smokers, I recommend them to anyone who has early signs of ARMD. Also, regular appointments to monitor your ARMD is necessary to ensure your ARMD has not progressed to the "Wet" form, as described below.
Neovascular ("Wet") Macular Degeneration
About 10% of ARMD patients develop a worse type of ARMD, called "Wet" ARMD. "Wet" ARMD can lead to even worse vision loss than Dry ARMD and can cause other eye conditions such as a unique type of glaucoma, neovascular glaucoma. If caught early, "Wet" ARMD can be treated with fair success via a laser treatment. In the case of "Wet" ARMD, these options will be discussed with you.
New Treatments Coming Soon
A large amount of funding and research is directed at preventing and curing Dry ARMD. Although no medical treatments have been proven to work, there are several clinical studies currently in progress.