Wet AMD is a form of age-related macular degeneration. There are two forms of AMD, "wet” and "dry.” The wet version derives its name from the way the disease acts: abnormal and fragile blood vessels form in the eye, and these leak fluid into the retinal area. This fluid can cause great damage to the eye, leading to vision impairment.
All patients with AMD start with the dry form of the disease. Some go on to the intermediate and advanced stages still suffering from the dry form, but others develop wet AMD. Wet AMD progresses faster and is more destructive than dry AMD, but both versions can lead to severe vision loss.
Risk Factors
Risk factors for developing macular degeneration include:
  • Age. As the name suggests, AMD is related to aging. The greater your age, the more likely you are to develop the disease. It's thought that lifetime exposure to harmful blue light may have more to do with susceptibility to the disease than actual age.
  • Gender. Women are far more likely to develop AMD.
  • Eye Colour. People with light-coloured eyes have a much higher risk of developing the disease.
  • Family history. A genetic component of AMD has been discovered.
  • Obesity. Obesity raises the risk of developing the condition.
  • High Cholesterol. Although it's not clear why, high cholesterol levels put one at risk for AMD.
  • High blood pressure. This risk factor is particularly true for the "wet” version of AMD.
  • Smoking. Smokers are highly vulnerable to all types of eye diseases, macular degeneration in particular.
AMD is usually diagnosed during a routine eye exam. The first stages (dry AMD) are asymptomatic, so it's important to have an eye examination at least every two years after age 40. When wet AMD is suspected, an ophthalmologist will order a fluorescein angiography, in order to view blood vessels in the eye more clearly.
Treatment of wet AMD has traditionally been limited to managing the symptoms and slowing damage to the eye. Various options for treatment include:
  • Anti-angiogenic agents. With this treatment, drugs that slow abnormal vessel growth are injected into the eye. Treatments must be repeated every 4-6 weeks. Drugs often used for this purpose are Lucentis and Avastin.
  • Photocoagulation. This laser surgery technique uses a high-energy light beam to make small burns in the areas containing abnormal blood vessels. Only a small number of patients are eligible for this procedure, as most patients have growth in the area of the fovea, which cannot be treated by laser. Healthy tissue is sometimes destroyed by photocoagulation, and treatments must also be repeated.
  • Photodynamic Therapy. This involves injecting the drug verteporfin into the bloodstream, and activating it by shining cold laser light onto the macula. The drug then works to close off blood vessels.
Current Research
There is a great amount of research being done in the area of AMD, and strides have been made recently in treatment with nutritional supplements. This research makes it clear once again that prevention of eye disease is the best option for keeping vision into old age.
Prevention of macular degeneration can be found in the combination of meso-zeaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids are present in green and yellow fruits and vegetables, as well as dietary supplement available commercially.
Macular degeneration vitamins have proven to restore macular pigment to normal levels, eliminating low macular pigment - a major risk factor of macular degeneration
Degenerative eye disorders like Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of major vision loss in people over the age of 60. Narrowed into two categories - dry and wet, neither currently is curable.
The leading blindness causes in North America are macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts. These four causes lead to the majority of cases of blindness, affecting more than 60,000 people in North America annually.
Macular Degeneration: Vitamins and supplements recommended by recent research.
Eye degeneration disease typically affects older people starting at about age 50 and the risk increases year over year. The most common degenerative eye disease is macular degeneration.
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