Welcome back to another week. This month is a huge one for notable healthcare days and on this episode we will be discussing Age related macular degeneration or ARMD. ARMD is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in the US and an incredibly important topic to talk about! So listen now to learn about the signs, symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis and treatment of ARMD by CLICKING HERE.
♡ What is ARMD?
Age related macular degeneration or ARMD is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in the US. About 2 million Americans have this condition and this number is estimated to double over the next two decades. YES, DOUBLE. Lifestyle and diet are such a huge part of the prevention for AMD which is what we preach on the daily so it was only normal for us to cover this.
♡ What occurs in ARMD?
It is an issue with your retina and a particular part of it known as the macula that becomes damaged and leads to central vision loss. What does that mean? It means you will lose the ability to see fine details (no matter if you are looking at something up close or far away). Your peripheral vision aka side vision will still be intact (which is different from glaucoma).
A good example for ARMD vision loss is by looking at a clock with hands. In ARMD you’ll see the clock numbers but you won’t see the hands.
Anatomically, if we were to show you an image of the eye the macula is located at the back portion of the eye.
♡ Two Types of ARMD
Two types of AMD: dry and wet
Dry ARMD is more common with about 80% of AMD patients having this subtype
Dry AMD: the macula gets thinner with age and you start getting Drusen (this is a protein that can form clumps) and its clumps grow slowly leading to this vision loss.
Note: There is no way to treat dry AMD yet.
Wet AMD: is less common but a lot more serious. In this subtype, new abnormal blood vessels start to grow under the retina. They can actually become leaky with fluid or blood which can lead to scarring of the macula and thus, rapid vision loss.
CLINICAL PEARL: people may not realize they have this until an extensive amount of damage is done leading to very blurry vision. Which is why annual eye exams are so important! Your provider may catch the problem long before you notice it!
♡ Who is at Risk?
A diet high in saturated fats like butter, cheese and meats
Obesity or overweight
Family history of AMD
Note: Caucasians are at higher risk
Via the AMSLER grid:
You can print out your own grid online and you can use it as follows:
Keep the Amsler grid in a place where you see it every day
Look at the grid from about 12–15 inches away
Cover one eye. Look directly at the dot in the center of the grid with your uncovered eye
Look out for: if any of the lines look bent, wavy, blurry, dim, or out of shape
Now cover your other eye and do this again
Don't forget to call your ophthalmologist right away if you notice that any lines or parts of the grid look wavy, blurry, or dim.
Other ways to obtain diagnosis is via your healthcare provider (ophthalmologist or optometrist) and they can:
Look inside your eye with a special lens
Dilate the eye to look at your retina and macula
Fluorescein angiography - a yellow dye that’s injected in the vein of your arm and then a camera takes photos of your retina as the dye travels. This shows if abnormal new blood vessels are growing under the retina.
OCT or optical coherence tomography - looks closely at the retina.
OCTA (doesn’t use a dye as noted above) - OCT and OCTA are both imaging tools
Dry AMD: No way to treat it but if you develop a lot of Drusen or serious vision loss you may benefit from taking the following daily:
These may help slow down your AMD. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking these to see if they will benefit you and go through your medication list to make sure there are no drug to drug interactions.
For example, beta carotene should not be used by smokers due to an increased risk of lung cancer.
Eye healthy foods include: dark leafy greens, yellow fruits and veggies as well as fish.
Note: that balanced diet we're always talking about is important ... even for your eyes!
Wet AMD: treatment consists of anti-VEGF drugs. These medications decrease the process of angiogenesis which means it will decrease the number of abnormal blood vessels. This will also help with the leaking from the blood vessels. How is it administered? Via small needle that is delivered to your eye.
Another treatment option is laser surgery for certain types where the laser beam hits the abnormal blood vessels doing essentially the same thing as the medications.
Talk to your healthcare provider to determine which treatment is right for you.
♡ Secret Tips
Annual Eye Exams
Prevention with lifestyle modifications
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Disclaimer: The Content on our podcast/website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.