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Ophthalmologists call age-related macular degeneration the most common cause of irreversible loss of vision over the age of 50. This is a very common, but still little known, disease of the retina.
Moreover, the earlier changes in the retina are detected, the more chances there are to stop the progression of the disease and maintain vision. How to notice the earliest signs of the disease and how to prevent it, learned the World of News.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a lesion of the central region of the retina, in which there is a gradual thinning of the choroid. First, a person begins to see details worse, then his central vision gradually erodes (for example, he begins to realize that he does not have enough light for reading or painstaking work).
Then difficulties begin when reading and writing (separate letters and even whole words fall out), visual acuity decreases both in the distance and at close range. Vision can suddenly deteriorate to a pronounced loss in the central region in the event of hemorrhage.
In serious stages, straight lines begin to look distorted. If you do nothing, the eye goes blind. However, since the disease most often begins in one eye, the patient does not notice it for years: in ordinary life, we will not close one eye to see how it sees. Sometimes people accidentally run into an ophthalmologist for an eye examination, and only here it turns out that when one eye is closed, the lines begin to distort.
If we talk about statistics, then in our country about 15 people per 1000 population are sick, which is a lot. At the same time, the risk of developing the disease increases significantly with age.
So, if at the age of 52-64 years the prevalence of the disease is only 1.5%, then already in 65-74 years it rises to 15%, and by the age of 75-84 every fourth person is sick. Among people over 85, age-related macular degeneration is diagnosed in a third. At the same time, according to medical forecasts, in five years the number of Russians with this diagnosis will reach almost 4 million people.
However, age, of course, is not the only risk factor for AMD. Among others, a genetic predisposition (that is, the presence of close relatives with such a diagnosis in the family), bad habits, primarily smoking, light-colored eyes, high blood pressure, hyperopia, any heart and vascular disease, high cholesterol, and abuse of sunbathing are highlighted. goggles, lack of fish in the diet, work associated with great mental stress. If you have several risk factors at once, respectively, the risk of developing AMD is growing in arithmetic progression.
Macular degeneration occurs in two scenarios: it is dry and wet. Dry has a more favorable outcome: it develops slowly, progresses for years and even tens of years.
Wetter and worse is AMD: it develops rapidly and overnight leads to irreversible vision damage. A person literally suddenly loses the ability to read, drive a car, stops seeing small details.
The good news is that scientists have invented drugs that convert the wet form of AMD to a more favorable dry form. In general, today it is all existing treatment. However, its progression can be significantly slowed down if the patient follows the diet prescribed by the doctor, takes special vitamins, and vascular preparations.
In some cases, laser correction or surgery may be required. However, if gross damage to the retina has already developed, regain vision, unfortunately, is unrealistic. Therefore, the role of early diagnosis is so important.
First of all, every person who does not have vision problems should undergo a routine examination with an ophthalmologist once a year.
“We recommend healthy people to be examined by an ophthalmologist once a year, and people with identified pathologies – on the recommendation of a doctor. For example, with diabetes, you need to examine the fundus at least once every six months; with glaucoma – up to 4 times a year, with cataracts – 1-2 times a year, ”says Alexander Kuroedov, colonel of the medical service, head of the ophthalmology department of FCU“ TsVKG im. P.V. Mandryka »Ministry of Defense of Russia.
As regards the diagnosis of AMD, optical coherence tomography is recognized as the gold standard. During this study, it can be identified by a specialist during a standard fundus examination.
“But human self-control is also very important,” says Tatyana Avanesova, founder and chairman of the Foundation for the Research and Treatment of Retinal Diseases, head of the “Keep Vision” project, doctor of the ophthalmology department of the FSBI “Central Clinical Hospital with Clinic”, UDP. – For example, there is a very simple Amsler test, which can be found on the Internet. A person should look at a special net, closing his eyes one by one. If the lines are distorted, the squares are of unequal size, there is turbidity, you should immediately consult a doctor. ”