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Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) affects an estimated 1.2 million Poles. In fact, there are more of them, but many people are unaware of their disease. How to prevent AMD and how to treat macular degeneration of the eye?

AMD, or macular degeneration,develops in one eye first. Then the second one takes over its functions, so we do not notice any deterioration in vision. The elderly most often suffer from AMD, but 50-year-olds also suffer from it. The risk of developingmacular degenerationis mainly increased by smoking, frequent sunbathing and insufficient eye protection from the sun.

Macular Degeneration - Causes

The macula is located in the central part of the retina, where visual stimuli concentrate. It is small, but it is the largest cluster of photoreceptors - photosensitive cells. Responsible for central vision, image sharpness, and the perception of details and colors.

When the macula stops functioning properly, it becomes more and more difficult to read, write or drive a car. In advanced stages of AMD, there is functional blindness. Affected people are not blind, because they retain peripheral vision, but the center of the field of vision is a dark spot, which makes it impossible to perform many activities and limits independence.

Macular degeneration - wet and dry

The most common (in 80-90% of cases) is degenerative - the so-called dry - a form of AMD that develops gradually and slowly. It affects people over 70. In this form of the disease, the changes in the macula are atrophic in nature. The photoreceptors die, as well as the small blood vessels that supply them with oxygen.

The wet, exudative form is characterized by a sudden, sharp onset, so it is easier to see the deterioration of vision. This form of AMD appears earlier in the age of 50. Its feature is the formation of pathological blood vessels due to the hypoxia of the retinal cells. The walls of the abnormal vessels are weak and brittle, resulting in exudation and bleeding around the macula. In the development of both forms of the disease, oxygen free radicals play an important role as they damage the cells of the retina andage. The older we are, the weaker our defense against free radicals is.


Do not neglect eye control

After the age of 50, visit an ophthalmologist every year. Ask him to check his eyesight also for the macula (examination of the fundus after administration of medications to dilate the pupil). The doctor will notice the first symptoms of the disease before your eyesight deteriorates, especially the so-called drusen - lipid deposits. Their presence proves that the macular function is disturbed, as it cannot cope with their removal. Then he will recommend additional examinations and preventive treatment.

Macular Degeneration Treatment

Macular degeneration cannot be cured. It's a chronic disease. However, we can delay or even inhibit its development. It also manages to improve visual acuity, but unfortunately only temporarily.

Dry AMD does not heal. Only a he althy lifestyle is recommended and the intake of preparations with lutein and zeaxanthin (antioxidants), omega-3 acids, vitamins (A and E) and minerals (selenium, zinc). They inhibit the progression of the disease, and in the opinion of some patients also improve visual acuity. Not all of them work equally effectively, so it is advisable to consult an ophthalmologist.

As for the wet form, anti-VEGF preparations are used that are injected into the vitreous in the eyeball. This is a group of drugs that destroy pathological blood vessels. They also absorb exudates and strokes. It is basically symptomatic (such as insulin administration in diabetes) rather than causal treatment as it does not prevent the formation of new pathological blood vessels. So the disease returns after some time, but faster for some, and later for others.

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