Treatment can prove more effective if AMD is diagnosed early.
New Delhi: Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is one of the important causes of severe visual loss in the elderly population. It constitutes to 8.7% of the world population.
AMD symptoms include blurred or fuzzy vision, straight lines that appear wavy or crooke, decreased contrast or colour sensitivity, difficulty seeing at a distance and/or a small but growing, blind spot in the centre of vision.
Rate of depression amongst AMD patients is substantially higher than depression due to other reasons amongst the elderly population. The severity and magnitude of AMD-related depression in elderly is at par with other chronic and disabling diseases.
The functional losses that result from visual impairment can bring about a loss of independence and the lack of control over one's life. Social isolation can arise from restrictions on mobility (such as difficulty in driving and limited walking because of the fear of falling), embarrassment about one's loss of vision etc. The vision loss resulting from AMD and its associated impact on daily function appreciably lowers a person's quality of life.
Dr. Raja Narayanan of L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, said while AMD cannot be cured, there are effective treatment options available that can reverse, slow or halt its progression.
"Treatment can prove more effective if AMD is diagnosed early. Today, there are treatment options available that can slow or halt the disease progression. Some of the treatment options available in India include laser photocoagulation, anti-VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) injections and combination therapy which includes laser and anti-VEGF treatment," he said.
According to Dr. Ajay I Dudani of Bombay Hospital, it is extremely important that the caregivers of AMD patients do not ignore the patient's complain about low vision or confuse it with old-age.
"It is observed that empathy from family members and spending quality time with patients helps in making them feel positive. Additionally, following a healthy, balanced and nutritional diet boosts good eye health. All vegetables and fruits which are rich in lutein like green leafy vegetables, corn, kiwi, nuts, beans, salmon fish, eggs are good for eye health," concluded Dr. Dudani.