Mr Venki Sundaram
Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
MD FRCOphth MRCOphth BMBCh BSc

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of visual loss in people over 50 years of age.


There are 2 types of AMD, dry and wet…


What is Dry AMD?

Dry AMD accounts for 80% of cases of the condition and is caused by a build-up of waste products in the retina. It can slowly progress to cause loss of vision due to loss of retinal photoreceptors.

Age-related macular degeneration


What are the main causes of dry AMD?

  • Genetics – it is more common in patients who have a 1st degree relative with the disease.
  • Smoking – the risk of developing AMD is 2-3 times higher in smokers.

couple holding hands in street

Is there treatment available?

There is no treatment currently available for dry AMD however there are measures and lifestyle changes that can be implemented to reduce its progression.

  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a well-balanced diet – high in natural antioxidants and leafy greens such as spinach.
  • Nutritional supplements (AREDS and AREDS 2 (medical) trials have shown that this can be effective in people with AMD)

Other medical trials are currently underway to find a solution that can reduce the progression of Dry AMD. These include; oral therapy, therapy administered straight to the eye and also, stem cell therapy – investigating the safety of using stem cells to replace retinal photoreceptors that have been lost due to this condition.


What is Wet AMD?

Wet AMD only accounts for 20% of cases of the condition however the outcomes can be more serious – accounting for 80% of severe vision loss through AMD. So, although less common, it is the more serious type of the condition.


What are the main causes of wet AMD?

An abnormal growth of blood vessels from beneath the retina.

Symptoms:

  • Rapid decline in vision
  • Distortion of images
  • Bleed or leak of fluid – causing damage to the retina

Is there treatment available?

Fortunately, the treatment of Wet AMD has been transformed in recent years by the use of AntiVEGF injections.

As a result of this treatment, many patients have been able to continue…

  • Driving
  • Working
  • Enjoying hobbies
  • Live independently

If left untreated, a retinal scar can develop in the macula area, permanently affecting central vision.




Treatment Results

Numerous clinical trials have shown that these therapies can preserve vision in over 90% of cases and improve vision in over 30% of cases.

Evidence from clinical trials is continuing to emerge, providing information on the most effective ways to maintain the gains achieved through early treatment.