Definition: Age related macular degeneration is due to the deposition of waste material, called 'drusen' under the retina, specifically the 'macula' or centre of the retina which is necessary for fine vision and colour vision.
Types: There are generally 2 types: wet and dry. Wet ARMD is 'wet' because there is a new blood vessel which has developed under the retina which is leaking. Dry ARMD is 'dry' because there is no leakage. This form of ARMD will still cause visual loss, but it is much slower and less sudden.
In 'wet ARMD', the current standard of treatment is 'anti-VEGF' therapy. This involves a series of injections into the vitreous cavity of the eye. In some cases, if there is a large bleed caused by the new blood vessel in the retina, a gas bubble which is injected into the vitreous cavity may be helpful to displace this blood. Sometimes, an operation to remove the vitreous may also be beneficial. Your doctor will advise you of the possiblities.
In 'dry ARMD', there is currently no definitive treatment accept for preventing the risk factors of developing 'wet ARMD' such as diet, smoking, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Supplements such as Lutein, Anti-oxidants, and vitamins have been shown to be beneficial in some cases of 'dry ARMD'. Your doctor will need to examine your retina to tell you if this is beneficial according to the AREDS study.
Outcome: Even when ARMD becomes severe and untreatable, the patient does not become totally blind because the peripheral vision is maintained. It does become difficult to drive, read, and do fine crafts such as knitting, but most patients can maintain their independence.
Treatment Options: Your LEC specialist will explain the most suitable treatment for you and discuss why this is best. Please contact us to make an appointment.
Drusen on OCT scan