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Macular degeneration related to age (AMD): Definition, Causes, Prevention

Definition of AMD

Macular degeneration related to age (AMD) begins after the age of 50. It is a degenerative disease of the retina. It reaches its central part called "macula." We distinguish two forms: atrophic (thinning of the macula) and exudative (formation of new blood vessels).

What are the risks and symptoms of AMD?

AMD can lead to loss of central vision, the visual acuity (perception of details): reading, driving, recognizing faces ... It is limited to the center of the field of vision blindness, but this is very disabling. It would affect one million people.

Causes of AMD?

AMD does not have a single cause, but several:


-The risk of AMD increased from 1% between 50 and 55 years, 25% at 75 years.


- Smoking multiplied by 6 the risk of developing the disease


- A diet low in green vegetables, fresh fruit and oily fish. Obesity also appears to play a supporting role

Genetic predisposition

- Having people with AMD in the family increases the risk by 4.

How is the AMD?

At the initial stage of the disease (age-related macular degeneration, or MLA), there are usually no symptoms for years. What deceives the people vigilance. We have to think of taking age.

AMD proved can then occur by:
- A decrease in visual acuity: we see less far and near;
- A decrease in contrast sensitivity: perceived lack of light for reading, the images appear dull or discolored;
- A distorted view of objects (metamorphopsia) straight lines appear wavy;
- The appearance of a gray or black spot (scotoma) in the center of the visual field.

With what should we be confused?

Many eye diseases can give similar symptoms to AMD: retinal detachment, chronic glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa or Stargardt disease.

Is there a possible prevention?

Yes. It is to remove the predisposing factors of AMD that may be, that is to say not (or no longer) smoking, eat a balanced diet and weight control, but also to treat the precursor stage of the disease (MLA) to reduce the risk of developing AMD true.

When consulted?

We must seek urgent medical advice in case of sudden loss of vision, or a distorted view of straight lines. Apart from these cases, an annual inspection is recommended for all from the age of 55 in order to detect such a novice form (MLA). Early treatment can, in some cases, stabilize the disease.

What is the doctor?

The ophthalmologist practice a balance (fundus, angiography, optical coherence tomography ...) to confirm the diagnosis of AMD, and then specify the form and stage, the choice of treatment depends on:

- A precursor (MLA) or a beginner atrophic form of AMD stage: Regular consumption of fruits, green vegetables rich in lutein (spinach, broccoli, kale ...), fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna ...). The ophthalmologist may also prescribe dietary supplements (vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, omega-3);

- For exudative: thermal laser photocoagulation, dynamic photocoagulation (PDT) with injection verteprofine, antiangiogenic drugs (anti-VEGF).

Vision therapy (called "low vision") and optical aids (magnifying systems) are essential when visual loss is significant.

How to prepare for my consultation?

Noting the evolution of sight in both eyes, and any visual difficulties in everyday life.

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