"Guest-blogger Judith Whitehead lives in Amherst N.Y. and has worked in the
ophthalmology field of medicine for over 30 years...Today she talks about her specialty, eye care, I know, I care... Enjoy! ;D)
AMD or Macular Degeneration is an insidious eye disease that mainly affects the senior population although there are early signs of the disease if you are pre disposed to it.
Macular Degeneration can be hereditary in some cases or just the unfortunate condition that many people can get if they live long enough as many develop. It may start out with findings in the retina called Drusen or ageing spots thatare found in the retina during a dilated eye exam. That may be the start of the eye disease or they may just stay as ageing spots for the long run but must be watched carefully.
Living a healthy lifestyle of limited sun and UV exposure and eating a healthy diet of green leafy vegetables are ways to help insure that AMD may not affect you. Also taking anti oxidant vitamins such as I caps or ocuvite that are rich inzinc and leutin are also helpful but we cannot always beat our heredity.If you are unfortunate to get AMD, there are two types; wet and dry. Macular Degeneration affects the center of ones’ vision called the Macula which is responsible for the fine reading and fine tasks one needs to perform. The peripheral vision stays in tact so you will always have your “walking around”vision and never go completely blind.
The center of the macula called the fovea is the most delicate part of the retina and sometimes treatment in itself can cause vision loss. The Dry type can only be treated with antioxidant vitamins but the wet type which has the leaking and swelling areas in the retina can now be treated with injections into the eye. This is an in office procedure done in a very sterile environment that takes a minimal amount of time and is made to be painless with topical numbing solutions.
Several years ago an injection called Lucentis and Avastin came on the market and were used to try and hault the progression of the disease and treat the areas that were swollen in the macula. Injection therapy requires many injections spread apart over time and are not a short term commitment.
Today we are lucky enough to have two new injectables to treat the condition called Eyelea and Jetrea.
They are the latest medicines on the market for treatment for AMD; some insurance companies are covering these treatments and are worth pursuing if you have the Wet Type.
For anyone with AMD, depending on the severity of the disease, there are many lifestyle changes. Driving becomes more difficult if impossible and reading a great challenge. There are devices on the
market that can help with managing your lifestyle along with services from the Low Vision clinics that are very often covered by insurance. Our local low vision clinic in Buffalo even makes house calls if needed.
Living with AMD can be very challenging; there are new advances being worked on every day. Just remember that you will never go completely blind with AMD . The best way to combat acquiring the disease is having regular eye exams and leading a healthy lifestyle. If caught early, you have the best chance for treatment.
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