WHAT IS MACULAR DEGENERATION?The macula, or yellow spot, is the point of sharpest vision. However, due to increasing age and poor diet it often gradually sclerosis, causing a disease called macular degeneration. In civilized countries, it is the leading cause of practical blindness in individuals at about 60 year of age. When diagnosed late, it may lead to complete blindness. Macular degeneration is formed slightly more often in women and the risk factors are age, smoking, obesity, diabetes, heredity and poor lifestyle.
There are two types of macular degeneration.
The dry form: a more widespread type of macular degeneration, it has a slower progression and leads to the formation and accumulation of metabolites (called druses) and the thinning and loss of functionality of the light-sensitive cells in the place of sharpest vision. The symptom is decreased vision at dusk and in the dark, blurred vision and inability to focus.
The wet form: less common, but its progress is faster and more dramatic. It causes bleeding into the retina, the accumulation of fluid and swelling in the place of sharpest vision, which is often the cause of partial or full loss of vision. Paradoxically, its symptoms are painless, the patient notices reduced the ability to read, recognize faces, as well as fine details.
Despite modern therapy procedures, macular degeneration currently cannot be completely cured, but thanks to early diagnosis and treatment it can be stabilized or reduced. However, the problem is that the patient may not even perceive the symptoms at the beginning, and after the full outbreak of a disease, it may be too late for an effective treatment.
HOW TO TREAT MACULAR DEGENERATION
Vitamin preparations with a high content of lutein, zeaxanthin, antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamins E and C are mainly used for the dry form. The best treatment of the wet form is indicated after a thorough examination by a doctor and includes the following options:
- injections into the vitreous body: we try to prevent bleeding and swelling in the area of the macula through a repeated application of injections with anti-growth factors (called anti-VEGF) or directly into the vitreous body.
- Photodynamic therapy: a substance activated by laser radiation after reaching the retina is administered directly into the patient’s vein. A closure of new vessels is created at the site of the damage to stabilize and suppress the disease. If necessary, this type of treatment can be repeated.
- Transpupilary therapy (TTT) or focal diode laser therapy, or radiation therapy, is now only indicated for some extra-foveal forms of the disease, ie. where the disease does not affect the point of sharpest vision.
Because the disease is currently impossible to cure, prevention is very important. It undoubtedly includes a healthy balanced diet, plenty of exercise, avoiding smoking and eye protection by wearing sunglasses with high-quality UV filter.
WHO IS THE SURGERY SUITABLE FOR
It is important to begin treatment as soon as possible after discovering the disease. The doctor decides on the form of the treatment after a thorough preoperative examination. If you feel the first symptoms of macular degeneration, please feel free to make an appointment for an examination with our experts.
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