Louis Clearkin
Tel: 0044 151 604 7047 L.Clearkin@liverpool.ac.uk

Adult Macular Degeneration

Clinical experience

I have considerable experience of all forms of investigations and treatment for Adult Macular Degeneration (AMD).

Intermediate age related macular degenerationOverview

The macula is responsible for the most important functions of seeing: colour and high-definition vision. Degeneration of the macula is usually associated with increased age and it remains one of the major causes of sight loss in people over 50.

There are two types of AMD.

  • Dry AMD almost always precedes wet AMD. It is caused by cell debris that damages the retina. There is no treatment to reverse this condition, although reducing certain risk factors is important, to help prevent progression:
  • Wet AMD is caused by a growth of abnormal blood vessels in the macula area. Left unchecked, it can lead rapidly to total loss of useful vision. Modern treatments have revolutionised the prognosis of this formerly devastating condition, and many people's sight can be preserved with intraocular injections.

Diagnosing the problem

AMD blurs or distorts central vision and patients with such symptoms need urgent specialist evaluation. Confirmation of the diagnosis is by Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). This technique produces clear pictures of the layers beneath the surface of the eye, viewed in 3D. Diagnosis is confirmed by Fundus Fluorescein Angiography (FFA) in which a dye is injected into the arm, and photographs are taken of the back of the eye where the dye has travelled, to reveal any abnormal blood vessels.

Treatments for Wet AMD

Treatments for Wet AMD are now almost exclusively by intraocular injection of either Avastin or Lucentis. Both are essentially equally reliable in addressing the condition.

www.aao.org/newsroom/release/20110428.cfm
www.osnsupersite.com/view.aspx?rid=90024

The drug is injected into the eye initially monthly... most patients need only between four and seven injections over the two years following diagnosis. Many patients dislike the idea of needles and are anxious about this form of treatment, but in practice this has proved to be a surprisingly well-tolerated and safe procedure.