In macular degeneration, age-related changes are the following: the patient has poor vision, the image is often disfigured (distorted lines, missing lines when looking at a linear net) and imagery has low contrast. We are familiar with two forms of age-related macular degeneration, the dry and wet (or exudative) forms.
Dry and wet degeneration
The dry form of macular degeneration is more common and does not affect visual acuity as severely as the wet form. In wet (exudative) degeneration, visual acuity can worsen severely and damage to the centre of vision is typical. This condition is caused by an overgrowth of blood vessels in the centre of the macula and the leaking of fluid in this area.
There are different therapies to treat macular degeneration but not all are suitable for all forms of the disease. The most common treatment is a prescription of vitamins or medications that are used to improve blood circulation. These can somewhat stop the condition, but they cannot cure it. Recently, photodynamic and anti-angiogenic therapy, which applies medications to block the development of new blood vessels and prevent leakage from abnormal vessels in the eye, has more frequently been used.
Detection in the early stage is key
For successful treatment, it is crucial to detect this disease in its early stages and to begin treatment as soon as possible. If disease in the region of the macula is suspected, it is recommendable to undergo an optical coherence tomography (OCT) examination in addition to an examination of the eye fundus.
Glaucoma is an eye disease that is indicated by increased intraocular pressure. This gradually leads to optic nerve damage that is first noticeable by a worsening of peripheral vision and can later lead to more severe visual impairment and, in worst cases, complete blindness.
Retinal detachment typically occurs because a critical layer of retinal tissue tears and results in tiny openings that allow eye fluid to enter the area just under the retina. This may lead to retinal detachment.
In diabetic retinopathy, there occur changes in the eye fundus that are a consequence of excessively high levels of blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. High levels of glucose cause tiny blood vessels in the eye fundus to start swelling and then to leak fluid. Minor bleeding can occur at the site of the damaged vessels. In its early stages, this bleeding is not perceptible and causes no trouble to patients.