Dry age-related macular degeneration is the more common of the two forms of the disease, accounting for approximately 80% of cases. The condition is characterized by decreased sensitivity and oftentimes decreased number of the retinal cells in the macula. One of the hallmark features of dry AMD is the presence of drusen, age-related deposits underneath the retina which can contribute to compromising overlying retinal function. Vision loss in dry AMD is usually gradual, and it may range from mild to severe.
The presence of blood and/or fluid distinguishes wet age-related macular degeneration from dry age-related macular degeneration. Bleeding and/or fluid in the retina come from abnormal blood vessels growing from the vascular layer underneath the retina into the space underneath the retina. The transformation from dry to wet macular degeneration can occur suddenly and lead to severe visual compromise if treatment is delayed. One will have a better visual outcome if detection and treatment is timely. Treatment for wet AMD typically involves intravitreal injections of medications that stop growth of abnormal choroidal blood vessels. Delivery of potent medications into the eye is critical to stabilizing or, in some cases reversing, the damage caused by these abnormal blood vessels.
It is recommended to have an eye examination to determine whether you should be taking oral supplements for your retina. AREDS2 vitamins are indicated for patients with intermediate risk dry age-related macular degeneration; this determination is made at the time of a dilated fundus examination. The AREDS2 formulation contains 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU vitamin E, 80 mg zinc, 2 mg copper, 10 mg lutein, and 2 mg zeaxanthin. The vitamins have been demonstrated to reduce the risk of progression to advanced AMD by 25% at five years.
Taking AREDS vitamins has not been demonstrated to reduce one’s likelihood of developing AMD, thus it is not appropriate to take them preventatively without having a dilated fundus examination.
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