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AMD – Age Related Mascular Degeneration

AMD – Age Related Mascular Degeneration

Age-related Macular Degeneration or (AMD) causes distortion of the central vision and if left untreated, can lead to a black spot in the middle of your vision (central scotoma). AMD is the leading cause of vision loss among older adults, usually over 50. It progresses slowly in some patients and faster in others. Patients with early AMD may not notice any vision loss for a long time.

There are two types of AMD. 85-90% of cases are ‘dry’ and the other cases are the ‘wet’ form. Treatment is prescribed after an optical coherence tomography, or OCT scan of the retina is done to determine which type of AMD you have. If there is ‘fluid’ visible on the scan, more serious treatment is usually needed.

AMD is usually only detected if you test each eye separately. The condition does not cause complete blindness, but losing your central vision can make it harder to perform everyday activities such as reading or driving. If you notice straight lines bending or distortion in the centre of your vision, you should make an appointment with an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

Types of AMD and their stages

The macula is the portion of your eye at the centre of your retina. This is the part that processes clear, sharp vision. It is also responsible for your central vision and most your colour vision.There are two types of AMD each progressing differently. Dry age-related macular degeneration is the most common type and affects a large percentage of patients.

Dry AMD:  Also known as atrophic AMD, this type of the disease is when the macula gets thinner with age. It happens in 3 stages namely early, intermediate, and late. Dry AMD can affect one or both eyes. Usually, dry AMD progresses slowly over several years with no treatment available for those with late dry AMD. Steps can however be taken to make the most of your remaining vision.

Wet AMD: Also known as advanced neovascular AMD, this type of the disease is the less common type. Wet AMD is a visually threatening condition that usually causes swift vision loss. Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow in the back of your eye and damage your macula. These abnormal blood vessels may leak blood or fluids into the back of your eye and can cause sudden vision loss.


AMD is a progressive disease meaning your symptoms normally get worse over time. Many of the symptoms depend on the stage that you are in. Look out for these symptoms:

  • Shadowy areas in your central vision
  • Fuzzy or distorted vision
  • Wavy or distorted words when reading
  • Difficulty seeing details in poor lighting conditions
  • Sensitivity to glare


There are several risk factors for developing AMD. These include:

  • Gender – It affects more women than men
  • Age – It is the leading cause of vision loss among older adults
  • Cardiovascular disease – People who have had a stroke, heart attack, or angina are at a higher risk than those who have not
  • Smoking – AMD is significantly associated with the consumption of tobacco. Smokers are more likely to develop the disease than non-smokers.
  • Obesity and physical inactivity – Being obese or inactive can accelerate the progression of the disease.
  • Genetics and hereditary – Your chances of developing AMD are higher if there is a family history of the condition.


Although there is no cure for macular degeneration, the good news is that there are treatments available that may delay its progression. These treatments can even improve your vision. Treatments also depend on whether your AMD is in its dry or wet form. Dry being the early stage and wet being the more advanced form.Regular eye exams are recommended so that your eye doctor can keep track of how your eyes are doing. Dry AMD can be treated with nutritional supplements containing antioxidant vitamins. These can reduce the risk of dry AMD progressing to wet AMD.

Wet AMD can be treated with medications designed to shrink or stop abnormal blood vessel growth. These will also prevent the leakage of fluid into the retina. Injections will be administered directly into the affected eye. Additionally, there are laser procedures and medical treatments available to treat patients with wet AMD.

When to see us at Kloof Eye

If you have experienced any of the symptoms mentioned above, please make an appointment with us as soon as possible. If you notice gradual or sudden changes in your vision, our eye doctor can detect early signs of macular degeneration and suggest a course of action.

Kloof Eye is committed to proving all its patients with the highest quality eye care. We go out of our way to create a positive environment for everyone who visits our eye clinic. Our professional and friendly staff members focus on delivering outstanding service with professionalism and integrity. Contact us today if you suspect you may have any sort of vision problem. We look forward to helping you on your journey towards better eye health.