Age Related Macular Degeneration
Age related Macular Degeneration is the primary source of blindness to date in the Western world.
Presently, ARMD effects approximately 10% of the Danish population over the age of 60. The risk of affliction escalates to 40% at the age of 75 and there are reportedly 50.000 new cases in Scandinavia each year.
The sight is affected when cells placed at the center of the retina degenerate. These 500.000 cells are called the yellow spot or macula, thus the name Macular Degeneration. Scientists today do not know the specific cause of ARMD, but degeneration of these cells is directly related to the aging process.
My personal theory is related to the free radicals associated with the degenerative processes of rotting or corrosion. I believe that degeneration of the cells in the macular region is similar to these processes.
The two types of ARMD
Dry ARMD occurs when the layer called the retinal pigment epithelium – the layer that rids the retina of waste products and transports nourishment and oxygen to the retina – does not function properly. For the 13.000 people diagnosed each year by dry ARMD, the disease usually takes a very slow course.
Wet ARMD is often found in conjunction with the eye’s attempt to repair for dry ARMD, or the development of new retinal blood vessels. It is these newly formed blood vessels that can cause distortion of the sight. Retinal blood vessels may rupture and leak blood and fluid into the retina. Consequences often exhibited by this form of ARMD are rapid reduction of sight and the ability to read, image distortion, and /or loss of colour sight. The patient can simply have a difficult time recognizing friends when they meet them in the street.
ARMD patients experience the gradual loss of central vision. Central vision is essential for focusing on details, for watching television, our ability to recognize others, for reading or driving a car.
Most ARMD patients keep their orientation vision and can still go about on their own and manage in their homes. They can visualize along the periphery, but when focusing on an object it can disappear or become blurred.
The research community does not have a treatment for Dry ARMD available. There are however a few treatment techniques available for wet ARMD if the patient gets immediate treatment. At best the disease can be stopped, not cured, and eyesight can be permanently impaired.
Today, there are two new methods of treatment for Wet ARMD. Both treatments involve laser treatment of the newly formed blood vessels.
At our clinic, we have spent the last 15 years developing a method for treating ARMD and other ”incurable” eye-diseases.
We are constantly improving our treatment methods and have the results to show for it. Our success rate initially was helping 25% of the ARMD patients we treated, while today we can boast the fact that there are only 25% of our patients, which we are not able to help. Unfortunately that does not mean, that we can cure seven out of every ten ARMD patients. It does mean, however, that we can remarkably improve the sight of about 70% of our ARMD patients.
There are several ways of discovering central sight disturbances. Try studying well known objects in your home, or place a sight board on a wall and test yourself a couple of times a week (ensure that you test yourself from the same distance every time).