Age-related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive eye disease that affects the macula…
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive eye disease that affects the macula, the central part of the retina, which is responsible for sharp, straight-ahead vision. AMD is the leading cause of blindness among older adults. Central vision may be lost to a point where you cannot drive, read or see the television clearly, however it should be understood that you will never lose your peripheral/side vision from AMD and you will always be able to see sufficiently to walk around your house and your garden. The majority of AMD sufferers can also make their way to town and do the shopping and other tasks with ease.
There are two main types of AMD:
1. Dry AMD: This is the most common type of AMD and occurs when the macula slowly deteriorates over time. The cells in the macula die and the area becomes thinner. Dry AMD causes vision loss that is usually gradual, but can lead to difficulty in seeing fine details and colours.
2. Wet AMD: Wet AMD is less common but more severe than dry AMD. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels form under the macula and leak blood and fluid, causing swelling and scarring. This can lead to rapid vision loss, and if left untreated, it can cause blindness.
Symptoms of AMD include:
- Blurred or distorted vision
- Difficulty seeing in low light
- Difficulty recognizing faces
- A dark or empty area in the centre of vision
- Visual distortions such as straight lines appearing wavy
While there is currently no cure for AMD, there are treatments available that can slow the progression of the disease and improve vision. These include:
- Vitamin and mineral supplements
- Specialized eye injections for wet AMD
- Low vision aids and adaptive devices
- Regular eye exams to detect and monitor the disease.
It’s important to have regular eye exams, especially as you age, to detect AMD early and prevent vision loss.
What are eye injections?
Eye injections are a treatment option for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels form under the macula, the central part of the retina, and leak blood and fluid, causing swelling and scarring. This can lead to rapid vision loss and if left untreated, can cause blindness. Eye injections are used to stop or slow down the growth of these abnormal blood vessels.
The injections are given directly into the eye and contain medications that inhibit the growth of new blood vessels. These medications, known as VEGF inhibitors, block the growth of new blood vessels by inhibiting a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is responsible for the formation of new blood vessels.
The most common medications used for eye injections are:
- Aflibercept (Eylea)
- Bevacizumab (Avastin)
- Ranibizumab (Lucentis)
These injections are typically given every 4-8 weeks, but the frequency may vary depending on the individual patient’s condition. It is very important that the injections are started as soon as possible as your symptoms begin. To arrange a consultation for eye injections, please visit our Rapid Access Eye Injection Service page.
Eye injections take only a few minutes. The patient will be given numbing drops to reduce discomfort, and the eye is held open with a speculum. The injection is given through a very thin needle, which is inserted into the eye.
After the injection, the patient will need to be monitored for any side effects, such as increased pressure in the eye or infection. These side effects are rare and usually mild. Eye injections have been shown to be effective in slowing down the progression of wet AMD and improving vision in many patients.
It’s important to note that these injections alone may not be enough to save vision, and patients may need to combine with other treatments such as laser therapy, or photodynamic therapy.
It’s important to talk to your ophthalmologist about the best treatment options for your specific condition, as well as the risks and benefits of eye injections for age-related macular degeneration.
If you have been told you have dry AMD, contact us to arrange a consultation to optimise your eye health.
If you have been told you have wet AMD, book your Rapid Access Eye Injection Service Consultation now.