Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a problem with your retina. It happens when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged. With AMD you lose your central vision. You cannot see fine details, whether you are looking at something close or far1.
In age-related macular degeneration, the nerve cells are destroyed in the macula – the point of sharpest vision on the retina. This is caused by deposits beneath the retina as a result of local disturbances in retina metabolism.
Age-related macular degeneration – dangerous, but almost unknown.
Some 30 million people all over the world experience: their ability to see worsens, sometimes even to the extent of blindness. The cause is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This dangerous disease is almost unknown to the general public. Yet it is the most common cause of severe visual impairment and blindness among people over the age of 65 in developed countries. The incidence of age-related macular degeneration will go on growing dramatically as societies continue to age. Women are more frequently affected than men.
The initial symptoms of macular degeneration
The first sign of age-related macular degeneration can be when straight lines suddenly look bent. The disease usually starts in one eye, but the second is also highly likely to be affected later. Further indications of macular degeneration can emerge when reading, for example where the patient fixes his/her eyes, the letters become blurred, and only an indistinct blob can still be seen. This blob grows in size over time, with the result that sufferers can, for example, see a clock but not what time it is. Or they can recognize a person's outline but not his / her facial features.
Different forms of the disease
"Dry" age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common form of the disease. It only progresses slowly, so that the patients' loss of vision remains limited. The "wet" form of macular degeneration (about 10% to 15% of all AMD cases) causes much more serious restrictions of vision. It is caused by tissue fluid and blood seeping from pathologically changed blood vessels into the macula, leading to edemas (swellings caused by fluid accumulations). In addition, new, diseased blood vessels form in the choroid under the retina, so that thickness of the retina is an important parameter of how active the disease is. As a result, the nerve cells of the retina gradually die off, and central vision can be lost within just a few years. If there is hemorrhaging, it may even be lost completely at once.
Treatment for wet AMD
There is a new treatment with anti-VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) therapy, namely Aflibercept which helps reduce visual impairment and blindness in patients and helps improve therapeutic outcomes in patients of productive age and old age.
VEGF is a blood vessel growth factor. When injected into the eye, this drug inhibits VEGF resulting in the formation of new blood vessels and swelling can be reduced.
1. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/amd- macular-degeneration
2. https://pharma.bayer.com/en/treatment-care/eye- conditions/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd/
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