Old age brings with itself a plethora of problems that affect all facets of life. Your bones creak, hair fall out, body goes flabby and vision gets poor. But reading glasses are not the worst of the problems. There are other ways that aging impacts your eyes, a common one being age related macular degeneration.
What is AMD?
In this condition, macula, located in the retina, get damaged. As it is responsible for keeping the central vision sharp and fine, hence, the damage to it leads to blurry vision. Even though the peripheral vision remains fine, the lack of precise central vision leads to problem with the daily tasks.
From reading to watching screens, from face recognition to driving, everything gets effected because of this condition. Age related macular degeneration affects people in their 60s or an even older population. More men than women are susceptible to this condition.
Due to lack of discernible early on symptoms, it is harder for the patient to know if they are experiencing AMD. Consequently, things become apparent only when it happens in both eyes or when it aggravates to the point of vision impairment. Hence, it is vital for older people to get their eyes checked out by the Best Eye specialist in Karachi frequently so any problems are diagnosed timely.
Types of AMD
This disease is split into two categories, dry and wet. A more common form, Dry AMD is results from the deposition and accumulation of certain proteins that result in the loss of functionality in the retinal cells. Dry age-related macular degeneration is often painless, gradual and permanent process. It is also known as non-exudative AMD.
Wet or exudative AMD is a less common and more complicated condition. It occurs because of the development of new blood vessels under the macula. These abnormal vessels can then leak blood and fluid into the eyes. Due to this leakage, people see distorted and wavy images. Some patients also experience blind spots whereas others have loss of central vision. As the vessels heal, scar is formed, leading to permanent loss of central vision.
In wet AMD, a more drastic vision impairment is experienced in the patients. In some patients, it leads to even sudden loss of vision. Unfortunately, wet AMD manifests only after the vision gets affected.
Symptoms of AMD
AMD affects the central vision so when the patient looks straight ahead, they see blurred images. Dark spot in the center of sight is another symptom of this condition. Similarly, straight lines appear wavy to the patients. AMD also leads to hallucinations. Patients also experience problems in dim light, and often see colors less bright than they actually are. Some patients also have color distinction issues as well, although, it is rather rare.
Moreover, as macula helps in formation of focused and sharp image, people suffering from its degeneration are not able to see fine print and precise images.
Cause of AMD
Notwithstanding the age factor, there are other causes of AMD as well. It is often cause due to obesity, high blood pressure and smoking. People with family history of this condition are also more vulnerable to getting it as well. Moreover, those who have cardiovascular disease are also at risk of having macular degeneration.
Moreover, dietary factors also contribute to developing AMD; over consumption of saturated fats leads to this condition. Although much contested, but some studies have also linked exposure to sunlight and its subsequent radiation also contributory factor of AMD.
Treatment of AMD
AMD is permanent and cannot be cured. But timely intervention can delay the progression. In case of dry AMD, it is recommended to get vision aids like magnifying glass, having suitable font size and light arrangements. Some nutritional supplements, like those containing vitamin C, E, Zinc, Copper, Lutein, Zeaxanthin can also help slow progression, but are to be taken at the discretion of the doctor.
For in case of wet AMD, regular injections are required. Some are also advised to get photodynamic therapy as well.
There are several ways though which the risk factors of AMD can be decreased. These include:
Eat good diet
As your diet is directly linked to AMD and conditions like hypertension that contribute towards the development of the disease, it is very important to pay attention to your diet. Eat a balanced diet full of natural food. Cut down on processed foods, too much salt and saturated fats. Eat more of omega-3 fatty acids as they help in preventing AMD.
AMD is just one of the problems resulting from smoking. It is best for the sake of good health to quit smoking.
In order to have healthy bodies and eyes, it is imperative for the overweight and obese people to take steps to shed off the excess weight.
Regular checkups are necessary for the timely disease diagnosis. It is even more important for people with risk factors and family history of AMD.