Age Related Macular Degeneration
Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD or AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in America for people over the age of 60. It primarily affects the macula, the portion of the retina that is critical for tasks like reading and watching television. Early in the course of the disease, patients will typically experience blurring or distortion of the center portion of their vision. In later stages, patients may lose the center of their vision entirely. Peripheral vision is typically spared. There are two different types of ARMD: the “dry,” non-exudative type and the “wet” exudative type.
“Dry ARMD” occurs when drusen (small yellowish deposits) develop beneath the retina and can be seen in the macula upon retinal examination. These drusen can cause loss of both the retina and the pigmented layer beneath the retina. When this occurs, central vision can be lost. The only known treatment to slow the progression of dry ARMD is the use of certain anti-oxidant vitamin supplements that have been proven beneficial by the Age-Releated Eye Disease Study (AREDS).
“Wet ARMD”, also known as exudative ARMD, does not have phases like dry ARMD. Advanced ARMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels and scar tissue begin to grow behind the macula. These blood vessels can leak blood and fluid beneath the macula. This blood and fluid can move the macula away from it’s normal postion. This process doesn’t cause any pain, but the first symptoms are often a waviness to what would normally be straight lines.
The physicians of Retina Consultants of Austin are constantly evaluating new therapeutics for the treament of both dry and wet ARMD. Please ask any of our doctors or staff to see if a clinical trial is right for you.