Macular Degeneration also known as Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD or ARMD) is a disease of the Macula, the functional center of the retina. Located in the center of the retina, a healthy Macula helps you see fine details and process sharp, clear vision. AMD is a disease that worsens over time and often has little or no symptoms in it's early stages. Left untreated, AMD affects your central vision leaving blurry, dark or distorted spots and can progress to severe vision loss.
AMD can present itself in the form of:
Straight lines that appear wavy or distorted (see Amsler Grid Below)
Difficulty reading or seeing details in low light
Severe headache in the area around your eye.
Two Types of AMD:
This form is most common, affecting 85-90% of people suffering from AMD. Over time various environmental factors can cause our bodies to produce molecules called free radicals. Oxidative Stress (when free radicals damage our cells) is thought to play a major role in how AMD develops. Generally the oxidative stress causes thinning in the macular tissue and tiny deposits of protein grow called Drusen. Central vision loss tends to be gradual and hard to spot in early stages. The effects of the disease create "blind spots" in the central vision. Annual eye exams at the Hallandale Eye Center can help detect early signs of the disease.
Although less common that dry AMD, wet AMD is more rapid and severe. Wet AMD is when abnormal blood vessels form under the retina. The new blood vessels leak blood and fluid causing blurred central vision and rapid and severe loss in vision.
Risk Factors for AMD:
Older than 50 years of age
Those with hypertension (high blood pressure)
Family History of AMD
Women are more likely to develop AMD than men
How To Use The Amsler Grid
It's best to use the Amsler Grid on printed paper.
A downloadable file is located below for your convenience.
• Test your eyes under normal room lighting used for reading.
• Wear the eyeglasses you normally wear for reading.
• Hold the grid approximately 14 to 16 inches from your eyes.
• Test each eye separately: Cup your hand over one eye while testing the other eye.
• Keep your eye focused on the dot in the center of the grid and answer these questions:
1. Do any of the lines in the grid appear wavy, blurred or distorted?
2. Do all the boxes in the grid look square and the same size?
3. Are there any “holes” (missing areas) or dark areas in the grid?
4. Can you see all corners and sides of the grid (while keeping your eye on the central dot)?
Switch to the other eye and repeat.
Early detection is the key to slowing the effects of the disease. There is no treatment available to completely stop the progression or reverse vision that was already lost. Dr. Moshe Yalon at the Hallandale Eye Center encourages the use of the Areds2 vitamin formula to help slow the progression of the disease. A healthy diet high in antioxidants helps support the cells of the macula.
Treatment for Wet AMD may include:
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
Laser surgery to help seal leaking blood vessels
Anti-VEGF Therapy that can include injections and/or nutritional supplements