Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older. It causes damage to the macula, which is a small spot near the center of the retina. It’s the part of the eye responsible for sharp, central vision, which lets us see objects that are straight ahead.
AMD by itself does not lead to complete blindness, but the loss of central vision caused by AMD can interfere with simple everyday activities, such as the ability to see faces, drive, read, write, or do close-up work.
The early and middle stages of AMD usually do not produce symptoms. Only a comprehensive dilated eye exam can detect AMD.
How is it treated?
While there is currently no treatment for early AMD, if detected your eye doctor will likely recommend that you get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year to help determine if your condition is advancing. If so, our eye doctors at Mississippi Eye Consultants offer multiple treatment options, including:
- Injections: One option to slow the progression of AMD is to inject a treatment drug into the eye. With some forms of AMD, your eyes secrete abnormally high levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is a protein that promotes the growth of new abnormal blood vessels. Anti-VEGF injection therapy blocks this growth. You may require multiple monthly injections. For your comfort, your eye will be numbed prior to the procedure.
- Photodynamic therapy: This technique involves injecting a drug called verteporfin, which is absorbed by new and growing vessels, into your blood stream and then using laser treatment of select areas of the retina to activate the drug. The drug is designed to close off the new blood vessels, slow their growth, and slow the rate of vision loss into your blood stream. This procedure is less common than anti-VEGF injections. Your doctor may decide to use photodynamic therapy in combination with other AMD treatment options.
- Laser surgery: Certain cases may call for laser surgery. It involves using a laser to reduce the abnormal blood vessels. This treatment is more likely to be used when blood vessel growth is limited to a small area in your eye that can be easily targeted. This option may not be right for every patient, but may also help prevent more severe vision loss from occurring years later.
Based on your condition, we’ll develop the best treatment method for you and your needs.