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Macular Degeneration

In the United States, an estimated 11 million Americans have some form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is a common eye condition and a leading cause of central vision loss among people age 60 and older. According to the National Eye Institute, approximately 2.1 million Americans have the advanced form of the disease, a leading cause of irreversible blindness and visual impairment worldwide.

The rate at which AMD advances may differ among individuals. For some, AMD advances so slowly that it takes a long time before they lose vision. In others, AMD progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in one or both eyes. While AMD limits central vision, it does not affect your peripheral (side) vision.

What is Macular Degeneration?

The macula is a small spot near the center of the retina that is responsible for sharp central vision, which enables you to see objects directly in front of you. As the macula ages it may begin to thin and break down (degenerate).

The loss of central vision caused by AMD can interfere with simple everyday activities, such as the ability to see faces, drive, read, and write. Early detection through a comprehensive eye exam is the best defense against visual loss from macular degeneration.

There are two forms of macular degeneration: wet and dry. Dry AMD is by far the most common type, accounting for 90 percent of all cases. It occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula break down, causing gradual central vision loss. It may or may not progress to the wet type.

Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels begin to grow underneath the retina and leak blood or fluid that blurs central vision. Wet AMD leads to faster vision loss and is the most advanced form of the disease. While wet AMD occurs in only 10 percent of cases, it accounts for 90 percent of legal blindness.

Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

How is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Detected?

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and the AREDS Formulation

Who Should Take the AREDS Formulation?

People who are at high risk for developing advanced AMD should consider taking the combination of nutrients used in the study. This includes those who have intermediate AMD in one or both eyes or those who have late AMD in one eye.

Before taking these high levels of vitamins and minerals, you should talk with your ophthalmologist about the risk of developing advanced AMD and whether taking the AREDS formulation is right for you. 

An important caution is that combining too many different vitamin pills with some of the same ingredients can result in taking more than the recommended maximum of certain vitamins. 

Please realize that most multivitamins combined with the AREDS vitamins will result in higher-than-recommended levels of vitamin E, which has been linked to strokes in some studies.

Treatment of AMD with Injections

In patients with age-related macular degeneration, abnormally high levels of vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF) are usually present inside the eye. VEGFs stimulate the growth of abnormal blood vessels.

Monthly injections of an anti-VEGF medication can help stop these blood vessels from forming. Jaffe Eye Institute offers Avastin®, Lucentis®, and Eylea® injections to help slow the progression of wet macular degeneration. Prior to administering the injection, your doctor will numb and clean your eye. Many patients report virtually no pain with the procedure.

The board-certified ophthalmologists at Jaffe Eye Institute will diagnose your condition and recommend a treatment plan. Contact us today or request an appointment online for prompt care. We can be reached at (305) 945-7433 in Aventura or (561) 499-0232 in Delray Beach, Florida.

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