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Genes and age are the
main risk factors
The number
cause of severe vision loss in people over 65
Smokers are
times more likely to suffer AMD

What is age-related macular degeneration?

AMD is a degenerative disease of the macula, the central area of the retina, which causes progressive deterioration of the cells and the retinal pigment epithelium. It causes a loss of central vision.

There are two types:

  • Dry AMD. Affecting 80% of patients, its progression is slow and gradual. The deposits that accumulate in the area cause atrophy of the macula, producing slow vision loss in the central area of the field of vision
  • Wet AMD. Characterised by the growth of new blood vessels with very thin walls, resulting in the leakage of fluid and blood into the macula. Vision loss is rapid
Healthy eye

Healthy eye

Wet macular degeneration

Wet macular degeneration

What causes it?

AMD is a degenerative disease caused by the aging of the central area of the retina.

The main risk factors are:

  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Genetic predisposition
  • High blood pressure

How can it be prevented?

AMD cannot be prevented as it is associated with the aging process. However, since a higher incidence has been observed in smokers and people with a family history of the disease, certain measures can be taken.

The over-50s are recommended to eat a healthy diet, not smoke and have regular eye check-ups.

AMD sufferers progressively lose their central vision, causing difficulty in reading, writing, driving, sewing or other tasks that require precision.

Sufferers can have difficulty recognising people’s faces, but can walk without tripping and can maintain a certain level of independence. The disease usually starts in one eye, but eventually affects both.

As a result, sufferers tend not to be aware of visual problems unless they cover the good eye and notice that vision is distorted in the affected eye.

A simple test the over-50s can do once a week is to cover one eye and then the other, to see if straight lines formed by handrails or door frames appear distorted. If they do, the person should immediately visit their ophthalmologist.

Normal vision

Normal vision

Vision in an eye with AMD

Vision in an eye with AMD

Wet AMD can be controlled with intravitreal antiangiogenic drugs, which have the function of slowing blood vessel growth.

For dry AMD, effective treatment has yet to be found, although administering antioxidant complexes can slow the disease. Studies are currently being carried out into genetic predisposition to AMD.

The aim in the near future is to identify people with a higher risk of suffering from the disease and to monitor them closely.

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