Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that causes people to lose the central part of their vision as they age. People with AMD have trouble seeing things directly in front of them, although their side (peripheral) vision may remain. Approximately one million Canadians have some form of the disease, and it is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50.
There are two kinds of AMD: dry AMD and wet AMD. The difference is, wet AMD is a negative progression that affects only about 10% of people with dry AMD. If you have dry AMD it’s very important that you look out for signs that your condition is progressing to wet AMD. Early treatment can save your vision. To monitor your dry AMD and ensure you’re not progressing to wet AMD, you can use our FFB Amsler Grid (link to Amsler Grid PDF).
• Blurring of central vision.
• Slow progression of a central blind spot.
• Macula slowly gets thinner and yellowish deposits called drusen build up (these deposits can be seen by your eye doctor).
• Difficulty seeing fine details (for example: reading a book).
Wet-AMD Symptoms (often occurs suddenly)
• Blurred central vision.
• Distortion of lines and shapes (a line of text appears wavy).
• Difficulty distinguishing colours.
• A blind spot in your vision.
If any of these symptoms appear, you should see your eye doctor as soon as possible.
Dry AMD – The only treatment currently available for people with dry AMD is a combination of vitamins and minerals tested in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). This AREDS formula has been shown to slow the progression of dry AMD.
Wet AMD – Great strides in wet AMD treatment have occurred in recent years. Current treatments involve regular eye injections of anti-VEGF drugs (such as Avastin, Eylea or Lucentis). Anti-VEGF injections prevent vision loss by counteracting the uncontrolled growth of blood vessels behind the retina. In addition to preventing further vision loss, anti-VEGF injections can also reverse some of the vision loss associated with wet AMD.