Age-related macular degeneration is a common, chronic, progressive, degenerative disease that causes central loss of vision due to abnormalities that occurs in the pigment, neural and vascular layers of the macula.
The macular disorder may have one or more of the following:
- Formation of drusen which are localized deposits of extracellular material usually concentrated in the macula
- Abnormalities in the retinal pigment epithelium (eg hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation)
- Retinal pigment epithelium and choriocapillaris geographic atrophy
- Neovascular (exudative) maculopathy
Decreased central vision and distortion of seeing straight lines are the most common symptoms.
Instruct patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) on how to test their vision daily or at least weekly
While patients with exudative AMD or have had laser treatment, should be instructed on how to monitor the size of their blind spots or the appearance of new ones
Encourage high risk patients (eg with early AMD and/or family history of AMD) to have regular dilated eye exams for the early detection of the intermediate stage of AMD
For low risk patients, it is recommended to have comprehensive medical eye evaluation schedule as below:
Patients 40-54 years old every 2-4 years
Patients 55-64 years old every 1-3 years
Patients ≥65 years old every 1-2 years
Patients should be informed about the symptoms of progressing choroidal neovascularization (CNV) (eg progressive decrease in central vision) and counsel on the need for prompt consultation with an ophthalmologist
Smoking cessation should be done as this is the main modifiable risk factor for AMD
Diet that includes leafy green vegetables, fresh fruits and fishes rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help decrease the risk for AMD
Maintain an ideal body weight
Increased body mass index (BMI) and abdominal obesity have increased risk for AMD
Wear sunglasses with 100% protection against ultraviolet A and B (UVA and UVB) radiation in bright environments
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