Surgical Options for Wet Macular Degeneration 0
The wet type of macular degeneration is considered advanced. Usually the eye disease begins as the dry type of macular degeneration. When the macula in the retina begins to leak blood and fluid, it becomes the wet form. The risk of partial or complete blindness increases when the disease becomes the wet form, so many options are available, from nutritional and supplement therapy to prescription drugs and surgical options.
Here are the surgical options currently available for people with wet macular degeneration:
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) was developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and approved for AMD treatment in April 2000. PDT involves a 10-minute intravenous administration of Visudyne (a light-sensitive drug) followed by a low-dose, non-thermal (light only) laser to the affected area of the retina. The drug circulates through the body's blood vessels and is particularly attracted to new blood vessels formed by the diseased macula.
The laser activates the drug, which can selectively seal off the leaking blood vessels without damaging the healthy retinal tissue surrounding them.
Thermal Laser Photocoagulation
Thermal laser photocoagulation is a process used by eye surgeons to treat a number of eye conditions, including the wet form of AMD. A thermal laser is used on the eye, focused on abnormal blood vessels growing beneath the retina. The heat from the laser closes off the unwanted blood vessels, preventing additional leakage and vision loss.
This process of thermal laser photocoagulation does not restore lost vision. In the past, it was critical that this treatment was initiated as early as possible in the course of the eye disease. Unlike PDT, thermal laser can also destroy healthy retinal tissue as it seals the leakage from abnormal blood vessel growth. Presently, thermal laser is rarely used in clinical practice to treat wet macular degeneration.
Macular Translocation Surgery
Macular translocation is a surgical procedure involves detaching the retina from the base, rotating it slightly, and replacing it in a different position so that the macula rests on a different, healthier base. While this kind of macular translocation surgery is unlikely to become standard treatment for everyone with wet AMD, it has been effective for some people when done promptly. It does not seem to work for the dry type of AMD because, for reasons not fully understood, degeneration continues in the new position. This procedure is rarely used anymore!
Undoubtedly there will be other surgical procedures developed in the future as the population continues to age. Have you had any of the above procedures?
Dr. Travis Zigler
Symptoms of Wet Macular Degeneration 0
Symptoms of Wet Macular Degeneration
Symptoms of degrading vision often build slowly and go unnoticed for a long period of time until they reach a degree of severity that may no longer be ignored. One may notice that he or she now needs glasses to read the text of a favorite book or magazine. Headaches grow more frequent - the result of constantly strained eye muscles. Once bright and vibrant colors may even take on more dull and muted hues.
While many conditions may result in impaired vision, wet macular degeneration is one of the most common culprits. According to AMD.org, when one is afflicted with this form of macular degeneration the membrane beneath the retina thickens and eventually breaks, disrupting the supply of critical oxygen to the macula. In response to this assault, the body forms new, abnormal blood vessels which grow up from beneath the retina toward the macula. These new blood vessels are quite delicate and are prone to leaking, which leads to scarring of the macula. This causes damage to both the retina and macula and often results in a rapid degradation of vision that, once lost, cannot be restored.
As is often the case with illness, catching wet macular degeneration early is key so one may take action to minimize its negative effects. While the condition is fairly serious, there exist several treatment options that can be highly effective if applied early. Following are a few telltale signs of wet macular degeneration.
- Slightly blurred vision
- Visual distortions in which straight lines may appear curved or crooked
- Blind spots that most often appear in the middle of the visual field and that grow larger if left untreated
- Hallucinations that involve seeing objects, animals, or people that aren’t actually present
Along with watching for symptoms, it is also important to know the risk factors for wet macular degeneration. Taking steps to reduce these risk factors is a critical step to take along the path of risk reduction. Additional risk factors for developing this condition include:
- High blood pressure
- A diet high in saturated fats and simple carbohydrates
- Lack of exercise
Knowledge is power. With an increased awareness of both symptoms and risk factors, one can detect and guard against the development of wet macular degeneration before it has a chance to threaten his or her vision. Additionally, eliminating the additional risk factors for this condition will not only help to protect one’s vision, it will also contribute to an overall greater level of health and vitality.
Dr. Jenna Zigler
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Why and How Macular Degeneration Affects Vision 0
Why and How Macular Degeneration Affects Vision
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) affects vision because the macula is part of the retina of the eye. The macula is located behind the lens on the back of the eyeball and helps images get to the optic nerve so they can be interpreted by the brain. The macula has the specific purpose of focusing fine details and enables people to read, drive, and see things like facial expressions.
So when the macula starts to break down and become dysfunctional, the central field of vision also suffers, though it leaves peripheral vision intact. This often causes confusion for those who are close to the person with macular degeneration because their eyes still look normal from the outside, so people don’t know why so much is missed by the one with AMD. At its worst form, what a person with AMD sees is almost like those scratcher cards that haven’t been scratched off yet — a blank circle covering the center area of where they look. Before that, the central vision may be distorted or partially “scratched.”
People with AMD are not blind, but they don’t have a full range of vision either. They are somewhere in between – as the former National Association for Visually Handicapped’s founding director, Dr. Lorraine Marchi, coined the phrase for AMD as being “hard of seeing.” A loved-one with AMD may not see the eyes of the person they are looking at, but they can usually see the general shape of the face. Since they know where the eyes are generally located, they can look at the eyes without seeing them.
In America, AMD — usually in the form of age-related macular degeneration— is the leading cause of vision loss for those who are over the age of 60. Studies show that exposure to UV rays, obesity, and smoking may increase the risk of AMD, and it seems to be more prevalent in Caucasians than in African-Americans. It has hereditary links and is also more common among women than men. Though there are two forms of AMD (wet and dry), 90% of those suffering from AMD have the dry, less severe form.
No cure has been found yet for AMD. With early detection, there are treatments that slow the progress of the disease, extending full vision longer. Have you been diagnosed with macular degeneration?
Dr. Travis Zigler
SOURCES: http://www.visionaware.org/info/your-eye-condition/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd/how-does-amd-affect-vision/125 http://www.vistaeyecare.net/your-eye-health/eye-diseases/macular-degeneration/
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How Does Macular Degeneration Lead to Blindness? 0
- Dr. Jenna Zigler
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