Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Age-related macular degeneration is a chronic disease that gradually destroys the macula, the most sensitive part of the retina, located in the centre of the back of the eye. It is a light-sensitive membrane that captures images, like the film in a camera. AMD affects central vision; the eye will gradually only have peripheral vision.

Several risk factors have been identified that increase the likelihood of developing AMD. The first, unavoidable factor is age. The disease is a result of deterioration of the cells of the macula. The second risk factor is genetics. The development of AMD is four times more common in people with a parent or family member who is already affected by the disease.

Types of AMD

There are two types of AMD: dry AMD and wet AMD.

  • Dry AMD is the most common form. The delicate tissue of the macula becomes thinner and no longer functions properly. It generally progresses slowly.
  • Wet AMD is characterised by the growth of abnormal blood vessels behind the macula, which deforms the macula in the same way as the roots of a tree deform a road, for example.

AMD symptoms

  • Gradual vision loss
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Distorted vision
  • Dark spots in vision

Risk factors

  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Sun (UV) exposure, without protection
  • Genetic factors
  • Saturated fatty acids and being overweight

Diagnostic examinations for AMD

In order to diagnose this pathology, a series of examinations must be carried out:

  • Visual acuity test (vision)
  • Amsler grid test
  • Fundus examination by the ophthalmologist
  • Fundus photography
  • Visual field
  • OCT and OCT-Angiography
  • Angiography with contrast agent
  • Electroretinography

All these examinations are carried out in our Swiss Visio centers and then analyzed by our retina specialists. They will used to select the specific treatment adapted to each patient.

AMD treatment

It is important to detect the disease as early as possible to limit its progression and preserve vision. Contact your ophthalmologist at the first signs of vision problems.

For the moment, there is no treatment for dry AMD. Certain food supplements and antioxidants with precise dosage such as vitamin C, zinc, or vitamin E can slow the progression of the disease. However, many innovative treatments are currently being developed.

Wet AMD requires urgent treatment in order to slow down the disease and stabilise or improve visual acuity. This involves repeated injections of therapeutic proteins (anti-VEGF). Laser photocoagulation treatment, which involves using a laser to cauterise and heal tissue, and photodynamic therapy are also possible.

A corneal graft (keratoplasty) is recommended when non-invasive

AMD symptoms

Gradual vision loss, sensitivity to light, pain, tingling, tearing, double vision, distorted vision, dark spots in vision