Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (wet AMD) is a degenerative eye disease. If left untreated, eyesight will worsen or be lost permanently, according to leading South African ophthalmologist, Dr. Joanne Miller.
The disease is debilitating, leaving those who suffer from it helpless and dependent on family members or caregivers for even basic assistance. Imagine not being able to see your grandchild when holding them, and being forced to only view the world from the sides of your vision.
AMD usually does not develop until the sixth or seventh decade of life although there are cases documented in young adults and even children. In fact, an increasing number of juvenile retinal degeneration cases are being reported, which, if detected at an early stage of degeneration, may be treated. ¹
Until now it has been difficult to determine whether it is an inherited condition because of its late onset, but studies are showing familial patterns of the condition, indicating that there are genetic causes of AMD. ¹
There are two types of AMD: ‘wet’ and ‘dry’. Wet AMD is an advanced form of AMD which results in a quick loss of vision. ² Wet AMD is also not as common as dry AMD, accounting for 10% of patients with AMD. However, according to the World Health Organisation, AMD on the whole is the 3rd largest cause of vision loss worldwide and the single largest cause of vision loss in the western world. ³ Whilst also being more prevalent in the Caucasian population, there is evidence that wet AMD is increasing in other population groups as well. ¹
An early symptom of wet AMD is the distortion of lines and shapes, making regular lines appear wavy or everyday objects such as door frames appear crooked. A blind spot or dark area also usually forms resulting in loss of one's central vision; limiting sight to the periphery. ²
According to Dr. Miller “the earlier you start treatment, the more vision you can save; as any delay can result in the possibility of blindness.”
Only one accredited treatment exists for this condition at the moment, which not only stops the development of wet AMD but also reverses its progression; restoring hope, sight and light.
Speak to an optometrist or an ophthalmologist about your treatment options and be in control of your life and your sight. Alternatively, contact Retina South Africa on 0860 595 959 or visit www.rpsa.org.za for more information on wet AMD.
(Press release, Retina South Africa, July 2010)
1. Retina South Africa (http://www.rpsa.org.za)
2. National Eye Institute (http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/maculardegen/armd_facts.asp#1c Macular Degeneration Partnership (http://www.amd.org)
3. World Health Organisation (http://www.who.int)