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Age Related Macular Degeneration is the most common form of registered blindness in the western world.
It is thought to affect one in ten people over 55. AMD can be irreversible and lead to a reduced quality of life due to difficulty in performed everyday tasks.
AMD is an eye disease that causes the breakdown of the macula, which is located in the centre of the retina towards the back of the eye. The macula is responsible for central vision and allows you to see details. People living with AMD may notice a dark spot or black area in the centre of their vision. This caused difficulties in activities such as reading and driving, even just seeing other peoples faces.
Macular degeneration symptoms include:-
Other risk factors include:
There are two types of AMD:-
Dry AMD is the most common form of AMD and accounts for over 85% of cases. AMD often starts in one eye and can spread to the other eye over time. The most common symptom of early AMD is blurring of vision. Significant loss may occur in 3 to 6 months.
Treatment for Dry AMD
No medical or surgical treatment is available for this condition; however, vitamin supplements with high doses lutein Omega III or Macushield supplement tablets have been shown to slow the progression of dry macular degeneration and in some patients improve visual acuity.
Using an Amsler grid to monitor yourself at home
If you have been diagnosed with dry macular degeneration, you should use a chart called an Amsler grid every day to monitor your vision, as dry macular degeneration can change into the more damaging wet form.
To use the Amsler grid, wear your reading glasses and hold the grid 12 to 15 inches away from your face in good light.
About 10% of people who have macular degeneration have the wet form, but it can cause more damage to your central or detail vision than the dry form.
Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels begin to grow underneath the retina. This blood vessel growth is called choroidal neovascularization (CNV) because these vessels grow from the layer under the retina called the choroid. These new blood vessels may leak fluid or blood, blurring or distorting central vision. Vision loss from this form of macular degeneration may be faster and more noticeable than that from dry macular degeneration.
Wet Macular Degeneration Treatment
The earlier that wet macular degeneration is diagnosed and treated, the better chance you have of preserving some or much of your central vision.
Treating the wet form of macular degeneration may involve the use of anti-VEGF treatment, thermal laser treatment. Treatment of wet macular degeneration generally reduces but does not eliminate the risk of severe vision loss.
Anti-VEGF medication injection treatments for Wet Macular Degeneration
A common way to treat wet macular degeneration targets a specific chemical in your body that causes abnormal blood vessels to grow under the retina. That chemical is called vascular endothelial growth factor or VEGF. Several new drug treatments (called anti-VEGF drugs) have been developed for wet AMD that can block the trouble causing VEGF. Blocking VEGF reduces the growth of abnormal blood vessels, slows their leakage, helps to slow vision loss, and in some cases improves vision.
Mr. Golchin administers the anti-VEGF drug (such as Lucentis or Eylea) directly to your eye and this is performed as an outpatient procedure.
For most people 2020 was a terrible year, nothing but Covid and lockdowns, for me it was the year I got my eyesight back. I've been wearing reading glasses since I was 7 years old. The optic nerve in my right eye never really developed so I had to rely on my left eye to provide me with adequate sight, with a prescription in my right eye to help balance it. This continued right through my childhood, adolescence, then through adulthood until my 40's. At that stage, my left eye had also began to fail, so, "call it vanity", I decided to opt for laser surgery. This unfortunately only lead to further complications and so was back to wearing glasses, 18 months after the treatment, with an eye prescription worse than ever. I knew by my early 50's my eyesight was in a serious state. Even with glasses everything was a blur and going in the wrong direction. I decided to seek further help, so for 3 years I visited eye specialists in Cork and Dublin hoping for a solution. Nobody wanted to know me after my failed eye operations and poor sight, except one man, MR Behrooz Golchin, a man I credit for saving my eyesight. Within 3 months I got synthetic lenses for both eyes. 12 months later I am still in disbelief of what he was able to do to correct my eyesight. Thank you Mr Golchin
John Lynch (March 2021)