Age-related macular degeneration is also known as ARMD or AMD. It is the most common condition that causes loss of sight in people over 50. It is a gradual condition that damages central vision, although peripheral vision is unaffected. It does not cause complete blindness. Progression can be several months or several years and there are two main types of AMRD, being dry and wet. The wet type is the more serious type, but it is also more treatable.
What Is ARMD?
AMRD means the cells that are present in the macula start to degenerate. Basically, the RPE’s cells start to die. This causes central vision loss, which is very debilitation, as central vision is needed for reading, driving, facial recognition and so on. Although it does not cause full blindness, it is certainly life-limiting.
In the early stages of ARMD, you may notice:
• Needing brighter light for reading
• Blurred vision when reading
• Colors that appear duller
• Difficulty in recognizing faces
Most people also notice visual distortion, which means straight lines start to look crooked or wavy.
As the illness progresses, you may notice:
• A blind spot in the middle of your field of vision. This spot will grow larger over time.
• Visual hallucinations, known as Charles Bonnet syndrome. Although frightening, if you have received an ARMD diagnosis, you will be aware of the fact that this is a symptom. Furthermore, these hallucinations usually only last for about a year and a half, although they can become permanent in rare cases.
There is no treatment for dry ARMD, which is the most common type. However, you can engage in ARMD prevention, thereby reducing the symptoms. This is all relating to increasing the overall health of your eyes. Hospitals, societies and charities dedicated to ARMD and other eye problems have a range of services and rehabilitation services that can be used to improve sight at least to some degree. This includes such things as protecting the eyes by wearing sunglasses in bright conditions, giving up on smoking and eating a healthy diet. There are also some dietary supplements that are believed to be beneficial for eyesight.
With wet AMRD, treatment is available to actually stop the progression of sclerosis of the retina. This means that it is possible for people to not have any loss of vision. In most cases, however, the treatment solely serves to slow it down, rather than stop it altogether. However, science is developing and there have now even been some cases in which the loss of vision has been restored to some degree.
Some of the possible treatments for ARMD include:
• Photodynamic therapy
• Anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) medication
• Laser photocoagulation
If you experience any of the symptoms of ARMD or are otherwise worried that you may be affected by it, it is very important to seek help as soon as possible. This is not a condition that can be self-medicated with over the counter remedies, but one that needs real medicinal help.