Diabetic Eye Disease FAQ
What types of AMD are there?
This form is quite common. About 80% (8 out of 10) people who have AMD have the dry form. Dry AMD is where tiny clumps of protein called drusen deposit in the macula and result in atrophy of that structure. Thereby patients slowly lose central vision. There is no way to treat dry AMD yet. However, nutritional supplements will reduce risk of progression in moderate to severe macular degeneration.
This form is less common but much more serious. When abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and leak blood or other fluids, scarring of the macula. This is called Wet AMD. You lose vision faster with wet AMD than with dry AMD. However, there are various treatments available for wet macular degeneration.
Who is more likely to develop macular degeneration?
- eat a diet high in saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese)
- are overweight
- smokes cigarettes
- are over 50 years old
- have a family history of AMD
- are Caucasian (white)
How is AMD diagnosed?
The doctors at Citrus Valley Eyecare will dilate your pupil to look through a special lens at the back of your eye or retina. They may further investigate with testing including an OCT, ocular coherence tomography, a scan of the retina or fluorescein angiography to see what is happening inside your retina. Yellow dye (called fluorescein) is injected into a vein (usually in your arm). The dye travels through your blood vessels. A special camera takes photos of the retina as the dye travels throughout its blood vessels. This appears if abnormal new blood vessels are growing under the retina.
How do you treat AMD?
Right now, there is no way to treat the dry form of AMD. However, individuals with lots of drusen or serious vision loss may benefit from taking a certain combination of nutritional supplements. A large study found those people may slow their dry AMD by taking these vitamins and minerals daily by almost 25% (AREDS study):
- Vitamin C (500 mg)
- Vitamin E (400 IU)
- Lutein (10 mg)
- Zeaxanthin (2 mg)
- Zinc (80 mg)
- Copper (2 mg)
The ophthalmologists at Citrus Valley Eyecare can tell you if vitamins and minerals are recommended for your dry AMD.
To help treat wet AMD, there are medications called anti-VEGF drugs. Anti-VEGF can help reduce the number of abnormal blood vessels in your retina. It also slows any leaking from blood vessels. This medicine is delivered to your eye through a very slender needle.
Laser surgery is another form of treatment for some types of wet AMD. Your eye surgeon shines a laser light beam on the abnormal blood vessels. This reduces the number of vessels and slows their leaking.
Talk with your ophthalmologist at Citrus Valley Eyecare about ways to treat your AMD.
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