What is ARMD?0

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Age related macular degeneration (ARMD) is one of the most common causes of vision loss in patients more that 60 years old. This happens when the small blood vessels inside the eye begins to hard, which is usually associated with aging. The hardening causes the amount of oxygen and nutrients to decrease, causing the macula, the most active part of the retina, to loss function and hence central vision. This can be detected long before vision loss would occur.

Severity of ARMD varies widely, in worst cases, there is complete loss of central vision, making reading or driving impossible. For others, it only cause slight distortion. However, macular degeneration does not cause total blindness since it does not usually affect the peripheral vision.
What is the difference between wet and dry macular degeneration?

AMD is classified as either wet (neovascular) or dry (non-neovascular). About 10% of patients who suffer from macular degeneration have wet AMD. This type occurs when new vessels from to improve the blood supply to oxygen-deprived retinal tissue. However, the new vessels are very delicate and break easily, causing bleeding and damage to surrounding tissue.

Patient with wet macular degeneration develop new blood vessels under the retina. This cases haemorrhage, swelling and scar tissue but it can be treated with laser in some case.

Dry macular degeneration, although more common, typically results in a less severe, more gradual loss of vision.
What causes macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration may be caused by variety of factors. Genetics, age, nutrition, smoking and sunlight exposure may all play a role.macular_degeneration 2

What are it’s signs and symptoms

  1. Loss of central vision. This may be gradual for those with the dry type. Patients with the wet type may experience a sudden decrease of the central vision.
  2. Difficulty reading or performing tasks that require the ability to see detail
  3. Distorted vision 9straight lines such as a doorway or the edge of a window may appear wavy or bent.

Detection and diagnosis

Eye physicians usually diagnose AMD. Vision testing, amsler grid test, ophthalmoscopy, fundus photography, and fluorescein angiography are some common tests performed during a retinal exam.

There is no proven medical therapy for dry macular degeneration. In selected cases of wet macular degeneration, laser photocoagulation is effective for sealing leaking or bleeding vessels. Unfortunately, laser photocoagulation usually does not restore los vision, but it may prevent further loss. Recently photodynamic therapy has proven to be effective in stopping abnormal blood vessel growth in some patients with wet AMD. This new type of laser treatment is far less damaging than laser treatment of photocoagulation and is the treatment of choice in may cases.

Early diagnosis is critical for successful treatment of wet macular degeneration. Patients can help the doctor detect early changes by monitoring vision at home with an Amsler grid.
Is ARMD associated with systemic diseases?

Through there is no definite proof, more hypertensive patients have ARMD compared to non-hypertensive patients. This is said to be due to the small vessel changes in hypertension.

Smoking also is associated with patients with ARMD, hence, smokers with ARMD are advised to stop the habit.

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