Our eyes are incredibly complex and if any one of their parts isn’t functioning properly, it can have a huge impact on our day to day lives. One such example is that of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), where the macula deteriorates over time. The macula is the small central portion of the retina. Early signs of AMD include adim, blurry spot in the middle of your vision. The spot may increase in size and become darker as the condition progresses. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in individuals over the age of 50 and is predicted to affect over 200 million people across the world by the year 2020.
However, scientists around the globe are working toward a better understanding of this condition and are attempting to find ways to treat it efficiently and effectively. Let’s learn a bit more about AMD and uncover one of the most exciting pieces of news on the horizon when it comes to new and improved methods of treatment.
Unlike a sudden injury to the eye, AMD typically occurs very slowly. This condition essentially attacks the macula, the part of our eyes responsible for clear central vision and develops to the point where glasses may no longer be enough of a help. For some, AMD can lead to blindness while for others it impairs their central vision and prohibits their ability to engage in normal activities.
Much of the time, developing AMD is due to family genetics and is more common among Caucasian individuals. Smoking has been proven to double the risk of AMD, yet by maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle of consuming antioxidants and avoiding smoking, you may be able to reduce your risk of developing the condition or to slow down its progression.
A Breakthrough In Britain
Researchers at the Institute of Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England, have been steadily working toward making a difference for those who have AMD, and after years of trials, might have found a ground-breaking treatment. Human trials are projected to begin in 2019 with the hope that they can receive approval for use worldwide.
The team has created an easy to administer eye drops that replaces the need for regular doctor visits. Currently, most ophthalmologists use something called anti-vascular endothelial growth factors, or anti-VEGF, to manage AMD symptoms. This treatment is delivered through injections directly into the eye, yet this new eye drop could replace that procedure. Scientists developing this amazing medication have partnered with an American ophthalmology company to secure funding, bringing this idea one step closer to reality.
Living With AMD
AMD is a condition that may not hinder your quality of life if treatment is started early enough so it’s important to visit your ophthalmologist regularly for a complete eye exam. If you notice any unexplained blurriness in your vision, specifically in the central part of your vision, make sure to see one of the doctors at Carolinas Centers for Sight, P.C. right away.
As industry professionals continue to work toward more sophisticated treatments for AMD, one can only hope that eventually a cure will be developed as well. Until then, remember that AMD will not necessarily lead to blindness, and with regular treatment you can continue to live a fulfilling life.