Your retina, which is comprised of nerves for your eye, acts as a central point for your vision, as it senses light and transfers impulses to your brain. One of the most common retina conditions is age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which causes vision loss among people 50 and older as a result of damage to the center retina, or macula. AMD severity can vary among stages based on the size and number of yellow retina deposits known as drusen, with the latest such stage being late AMD.
Neovascular AMD or wet AMD, a form of late AMD, is characterized by unusual blood vessel growth near the retina and can cause sudden and severe damage to one or both eyes, including leaking fluid and blood and macular swelling. If you have wet AMD, it is important to see a retina specialist for the most appropriate and customized care.
How will my retina specialist detect and monitor my condition?
A doctor will perform one or more of the following tests on your eyesight:
- Vision Test
Eye charts such as the “Snellen eye chart” measure how well each eye can see fine detail (visual acuity). The further down you can see on the eye chart (the smaller letters), the better your vision.
- Dilated Eye Exam
In this exam, drops are placed in your eyes and your eye doctor, using a special lens, looks at the back of your eye for damage. This test is necessary to diagnose wet AMD.
A tonometry test measures the pressure inside your eye. During this test, your eye is numbed, and then a small sensor is placed on the surface of your eye.
- Dye Test
Fluorescein angiography (FA) is a test for examining blood vessels in the retina, choroid, and iris. A specials dye is injected into a vein in the arm and pictures are taken as the dye passes through blood vessels in the eye.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a test that uses light waves to make a picture of your retina, allowing your eye doctor to see any abnormal blood vessel growth.
What are the treatment options?
With early diagnosis and proper treatment, the progression of AMD may be delayed. However, for some people, damage caused by AMD can’t be reversed. Your retina specialist will determine the course of treatment that is best for you.
Available treatments include:
- Eye Injections
These are commonly called intravitreal injections. Your eye will be numbed prior to the injection (you may feel some pressure when receiving the injection). These injections target the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye that cause wet AMD.
- Hot Laser Treatment
A hot laser is beamed into the eye to treat the abnormal blood vessels.
- Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
A combination of a light-sensitive drug injected into the vein and a cold laser into the eye to “shut off” abnormal blood vessels is called photodynamic therapy (PDT).
- Preventative Measures
Studies have shown that daily supplements such as vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper may reduce some risks of developing severe AMD. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.
Prevent Further Vision Loss Due to Wet AMD with Beovu®
Beovu® is the first treatment to offer less frequent dosing while still maintaining its effectiveness. Current treatments for wet AMD include intravitreal injections, which have been shown to prevent further vision loss and may even improve vision for some patients. These injections must be given every month or every other month, but clinical trials have shown that Beovu® can be injected every three months instead. That means you spend less time worry about your sight and more time doing the things you love.
Age-related macular degeneration is not curable, but it can be managed with less frequent treatments than ever before. If you or a loved one are living with wet AMD and are struggling with the frequency of your treatments, Beovu® may be right for you. To learn more, contact us today!
Only your retina specialist knows which treatment is right for you. It is important to remember that AMD is a chronic condition and you should continue to monitor your vision and see your eye doctor as recommended.
Due to the specialized nature of these conditions, it is critical to work with an experienced physician in order to receive the most comprehensive care. All of our comprehensive ophthalmologists evaluate and treat medical retina conditions. To learn more about our retina care services, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today.