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Age-Related Macular Degeneration, aka ARMD

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive eye disease affecting the
macula, the central part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision needed for
activities like reading, driving, and recognizing faces. AMD is one of the leading causes
of vision loss in people over the age of 50.

There are two main types of AMD:

Dry AMD (Non-neovascular or Atrophic AMD): This is the more common form,
accounting for about 80-90% of AMD cases. It occurs when small yellowish
deposits called drusen accumulate beneath the retina, leading to gradual
deterioration and thinning of the macula. As the condition progresses, central
vision may become blurred or distorted. In advanced stages, there may be a
development of geographic atrophy, causing a significant loss of central vision.
Wet AMD (Neovascular or Exudative AMD): Although less common, wet AMD is
more severe and often leads to more rapid vision loss. It involves the growth of
abnormal blood vessels beneath the retina, which leak blood and fluid into the
macula. This leakage causes rapid and severe damage to the macula, leading to
distorted or blurred central vision. Without prompt treatment, wet AMD can cause
significant vision loss.

The exact cause of AMD is not fully understood, but factors such as age, genetics,
smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and a diet low in certain nutrients like
antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids may contribute to its development or progression.
Symptoms of AMD often include:

● Blurred or distorted central vision
● Difficulty reading or recognizing faces
● Seeing straight lines as wavy or crooked
● Dark or empty areas in the center of vision

There is no cure for AMD, but early detection and management can help slow its
progression and preserve vision. Treatment options for wet AMD may include anti-VEGF
injections that help reduce abnormal blood vessel growth and leakage, laser therapy, or
photodynamic therapy.

For dry AMD, there is currently no widely accepted treatment to reverse the condition.
However, certain lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet rich in
antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, protecting the eyes from UV light, and routine eye
exams are recommended to potentially slow its progression and manage its impact on
vision. Dietary supplements have been shown in large clinical trials to reduce the
chances of the dry type of AMD becoming the wet type.

Regular eye exams are crucial, especially for individuals over 50 or those with a family
history of AMD, as early detection and intervention can significantly impact the
management and preservation of vision in AMD.