Common Age-related Diseases – AMD
What is Age-related Macular Degeneration?
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a common eye disease that results in blurry, distorted or loss of central vision in one or both eyes due to the deterioration of the Macula. The macula is the part of the retina responsible for clear central vision.
Types of Age-related Macular Degeneration?
Age-related Macular Degeneration is common among people over 50 year old, and they exist in two forms: Dry AMD and Wet AMD. Approximately 90% of AMD patients have the dry form, which is less severe.
Dry AMD (also known as non-exudative AMD) happens due to accumulation of protein deposits in the macula causing the retinal cells above to lose their function. Most patients with dry AMD will not notice any symptoms at the early stage as the progression is very gradual and takes months to years before noticing the changes in their vision, thus regular eye check is important.
As AMD progresses over time, your vision may worsen and affect your ability to do things such as read, drive and recognize faces. 10-15% of patients with dry AMD progress to Wet AMD.
Wet AMD (also called exudative AMD) is a more sight-threatening eye condition and accounts for ~10% of AMD cases.
Wet AMD was caused by abnormal blood vessels in the retina. These blood vessels are leaky and will cause leakage of fluids or blood into the back of the eye.
Patients with wet AMD will experience more significant vision loss as compared to those diagnosed with dry AMD. Unlike Dry AMD, Wet AMD usually happens suddenly and worsen quickly, symptoms could go from blurry vision to central vision loss in a couple of days.
Risk Factors of AMD
Here are some factors that may increase your risk of getting macular degeneration:
- Age – People of 50 Years old and above
- Race – Caucasians are more likely to get AMD compare to other races
- Smoking – People who smokes are two times more likely to have AMD compared to non-smokers
- Family History – If your parents/ siblings have AMD, you are likely to have it too
Symptoms of AMD
- Distorted vision, lines appears wavy instead of straight
- Hazy vision
- Colors appeared less vibrant
- Deteriorated vision in one or both eyes
- Well-define blurry zone in your central vision
- Sudden onset and rapid worsening of symptoms mentioned above
You may still have early-stage Age-related Macular Degeneration despite not experiencing any of the above symptoms, a comprehensive eye examination with an optometrist or ophthalmologist is necessary to check if you have this condition.
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