This article has been provided by Dr. Huseyin ACAR to give information about ‘Age Related Macular Degeneration and Its Treatment’ in general terms.
HOW IS THE STRUCTURE OF OUR EYES ?
Our eyes perceive the incoming light and transmit it to visual centers in the brain. Perception of the light is accomplished by focusing the incoming light into the nerve layer of the eye with the help of a lens system. Nerve layer of our eyes is mainly consisted of two sections. The section known as macula lutea is the responsible center for vision. In other words, we see the object by means of this macula lutea that we concentrated on and by means of rest of the nerves we see surrounding vicinity of the object we looked at.
Image 1 : Nerve layer (retina) mainly consists of two sections: Central (macula) and Peripheral
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION ?
Unfortunately, our knowledge about the causes of age related macular degeneration is not very much. There are many hypotheses related to the subject matter. The most widely accepted one is that the normal aging process has at some point changed and thus leads to disease. The factors that affect this process and who will get sick due to this change are not fully clarified up the present day. Only those with background of macular degeneration disease in their families and smokers were found to have a higher risk group of developing the disease.
WHAT ARE THE SUB TYPES OF AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION ?
Age related macular degeneration has two sub types: dry type and wet type. The forefront problem with the dry type frontal is the loss of cells in the nerve layer. There is no bleeding or fluid accumulation in the nerve layer as this is the case with wet type. The situation is somewhat different for the wet type of macular degeneration disease. Changes in the nerve layer trigger new blood vessel formation. These new vessels tend to leak and bleed. When they are not treated, these veins leak out and bleed, thus lead to damages to the surrounding tissues, and thereby cause permanent vision loss.
Image 2: Age related macular degeneration has two sub types: dry type and wet type
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION ?
Age related macular degeneration may manifest itself in a number of different ways. In the dry type, the first complaint of the patients is the difficulties to read and to recognize the faces of the people. As for the wet type of macular degeneration disease, symptoms of seeing the objects as oblique shaped or broken can also be manifested in addition above mentioned complaints. People having such complaints are required to visit an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
Image 3: Loss of central vision is the main symptom of Age Related Macular Degeneration
HOW TO DIAGNOSE AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION ?
Age related macular degeneration is diagnosed in a routine eye examination for the cases that vision is not much impaired. In cases where the vision is impaired up to the certain level, disease is detected when analyzing the causes of the patient’s complaints. After diagnosis made during the examination, sub type and stage of the disease is determined with the help of the supporting tests such as eye angiography and OCT.
HOW TO TREAT AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION ?
Treatment in age related macular degeneration depends on the type of the illness. Treatment in dry type aims at stopping the advancement of the disease. For this purpose, capsules or tablets containing various vitamins and mineral combinations are used. For wet type of macular degeneration, the treatment is intraocular injections. Priority aim here is firstly to stop the illness and then to increase the level of vision, if it is possible. Duration of treatment may differ from person to person. Consequently, it is difficult to determine for how long these injections should be administered.
Image 4: In the wet type, there is fluid or blood between retina layers
Image 5: The fluid and blood disappears after treatment with intraocular injections and then vision becomes better
Age related macular degeneration is an illness affecting nerve layer of our eyes. There are two sub types of the disease: dry type and wet type. The main incident in dry type is loss of the cells while bleeding and liquid leakage from the newly formed vessels remains in the forefront of the wet type. The disease manifests itself in loss of vision and vision distortions. Diagnosis is made during the eye examination. Tests such eye angiography and OCT are used for the detection of the disease’s type and stage. Treatment for the dry type is realized with the drugs containing anti-oxidant vitamins and minerals while the intraocular injections are made in the treatment of wet type of the disease.