Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or macular degeneration is a vision disorder that occurs in the elderly (elderly). Elderly people who have this disease will feel blurry vision , which starts from the center of vision .
Macular degeneration is more common in women than men. People with this condition will have trouble reading, driving, writing, or recognizing someone's face .
Causes of Macular Degeneration
The cause of macular degeneration is not known with certainty, but is thought to involve several factors, such as genetics and the environment.
Almost all people with macular degeneration are over 60 years old. Apart from the age factor, a number of other factors that put a person at risk of developing macular degeneration are:
- Smoking habit
- Family history of macular degeneration
- Often exposed to sunlight
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is a progressive disease that can get worse over time. The main symptom of macular degeneration is a decrease in the patient's vision, especially the center of the field of vision.
This decreased ability to see is usually marked by the appearance of lines in vision so that vision becomes blurry. As a result, people with macular degeneration will find it difficult to recognize someone's face. Sufferers will also find it difficult to see in rooms or places with dim light.
Early symptoms of macular degeneration will develop slowly, then become severe within 5-10 years. As macular degeneration progresses, sufferers can experience two different types of symptoms, namely wet or dry macular degeneration symptoms.
This occurs due to differences in damage to the macula (yellow spot) of the eye. Visual impairment in wet macular degeneration develops faster than dry macular degeneration.
When to go to the doctor
Immediately see a doctor if you experience vision problems, for example blurry vision or feel something different when you see colors. Macular degeneration can be asymptomatic at first, especially if it only affects one eye. Therefore, it is important to have regular eye examinations at the ophthalmologist.
Macular degeneration occurs in people over 50 years of age. Therefore, for those who are over 50 years old, immediately visit a doctor if you experience the slightest visual disturbance.
Periodic eye examinations to the ophthalmologist need to be done even if there are no complaints about the eyes and vision. Examination is recommended every 2 years for people under 40 years old and once every 1-2 years for people aged 40 years and over.
Macular Degeneration Diagnosis
As previously mentioned, the early symptoms of macular degeneration are often not felt by sufferers. As a result, a person often only realizes he has this disease when undergoing an eye examination.
If the patient is suspected of having macular degeneration, the doctor will do the Amsler line test. In this test, the patient is asked to look at several pictures that have vertical or horizontal lines.
If the examination reveals abnormalities, the doctor will perform a further examination of the back of the eye, namely ophthalmoscopy .
The doctor will also take pictures of the eye patches to see changes in the macula, with the following examinations:
Optical coherence tomography
Optical coherence tomography is performed using a special light to view the disturbances in the macula in more detail.
This test is done by injecting a special dye into the blood vessels, to look for leaks in the eye blood vessels.
Macular Degeneration Treatment
Treatment of macular degeneration aims to maximize the quality of vision, as well as prevent macular degeneration from getting worse.
In patients with early stages of macular degeneration, treatment is not necessary. However, patients will be advised to undergo routine eye examinations every year.
To slow down the damage, the patient will be advised to:
- Quit smoking
- Exercising regularly
- Maintain ideal body weight
- Eat foods that contain antioxidants , such as spinach, broccoli, and nuts
- Eat foods that contain lots of zinc , such as beef, milk, cheese, yogurt, and whole wheat bread
- Taking supplements containing zinc , vitamin E , and vitamin C
If macular degeneration has entered an advanced stage, depending on whether it is wet or dry, the doctor may suggest several treatment methods, such as:
- Installation of an artificial lens to make the image clearer and bigger in certain areas
- Inject anti-VEGF ( antivascular endothelial growth factor ) drugs directly into the eyeball, to help improve vision and prevent blurry vision.
- Laser therapy, to prevent the patient from losing sight
If this visual disturbance does not improve, the patient will be advised to undergo vision rehabilitation. The goal of rehabilitation is to help the patient adapt to changes in his vision.
There are several efforts that can be made by people with macular degeneration to adjust to the changes in vision they experience, including:
- Using a magnifying glass
- Buy books with larger letters or numbers
- Changing the screen display of electronic devices to be brighter with bigger letters
- Using sound system assistance (if any) on every electronic device used, such as a computer
- Replace the lamp with a brighter one
- Ask a family member for help driving
Macular Degeneration Complications
Blindness is the most feared complication of macular degeneration. Someone who cannot see is at risk of being isolated from the social environment so that he suffers from depression . Blindness due to macular degeneration can also cause sufferers to experience visual hallucinations (Charles-Bonnet syndrome).
Although it can cause vision loss, people with macular degeneration do not lose sight completely. This is because macular degeneration does not affect peripheral vision.
Prevention of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration can be prevented in the following ways:
- Quit smoking
- Using glasses with special lenses, to protect the eyes from sun exposure
- Undergo regular eye exams to detect eye disorders early
- Increase consumption of foods that contain antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables
- Increase consumption of foods containing vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc , and copper
Also, talk to your doctor about using lutein supplements to prevent macular degeneration, especially if you have risk factors for this disease.