Age related macular degeneration
Age related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the leading cause of blindness and vision loss in the world. In ARMD, the macular breaks down the light sensitive part of the retina, which is responsible for vision.
ARMD can be either dry or wet.
The dry form is the result of the aging process, thinning of macular tissues and pigment deposits in the macula. Dry ARMD is common and not as serious as wet ARMD.
Wet ARMD can result in serious vision loss. Wet ARMD results from the growth of abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula. These abnormal blood vessels leak and form scar tissue, resulting in blind spots in the retina.
ARMD causes slow or sudden painless loss of vision. People complain that straight lines look wavy, vision is fuzzy and there are shadowy areas in their central vision.
The amsler grid, which has black lines arranged in a graph/square pattern, is used by optometrists to detect ARMD.
The cause of ARMD is unknown. Risk factors for ARMD include family history, smoking, high blood pressure, overweight, poor diet, female and being of European descent.
These is no cure for ARMD. Patients are generally managed through their ophthalmologist. There is a suggestion that vitamins and minerals such a betacarotene, vitamins A, E and C protect the macula. These supplements work as antioxidants.
Other treatments include visidyne therapy, laser and radiation therapy. The best preventative measure is to eat a balanced diet which is rich in leafy green vegetables, wear sunglasses for blocking UV light, regularly exercise and quit smoking.