Age Related Macular Degeneration
Age related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a disease of the macula or one’s central
vision. An early sign of ARMD is distortion of vision. For example, straight lines appear
wavy or tilted. This distortion of vision is called metamorphopsia. In more advanced
ARMD, patient’s will report loss of their central vision that appears like a black spot.
Many patients with ARMD continue to have unaffected side or peripheral vision. ARMD
runs in the family and has a genetic component. Individuals at higher risk for ARMD
include fair skinned, blue eyed individuals, smokers, and individuals with high blood
Two forms of ARMD exist: 1. dry and 2. neovascular or wet
Annual dilated comprehensive eye evaluations will help detect early signs of ARMD.
In early diagnoses of Dry ARMD, patients are recommended to stop smoking, consuming
a diet high in green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, and wearing UV protecting
sunglasses when outdoors. Special vitamins may be given to high risk patients called the
AREDS formula. The AREDS formula vitamins have been specially formulated to help
reduce the progression of ARMD. If you are a smoker or have a history of smoking, tell
your doctor as the formula may need to be changed custom for you.
Aside from comprehensive eye exams, patients can monitor the progression of ARMD at
home. The Amsler grid is an important tool to monitor for changes or development of the
Cover one eye and stand arms length back from the grid.
Focus on the center of the grid and pay close attention to grid in your side vision.
If the lines look distorted, wavy, or even missing, report this to your doctor right away.
Monitor for changes, new areas of waviness or distortion.
Repeat with other eye.
Wet ARMD is a more severe form of the condition. Treatment such as injection of
special medication or lasers may be required in order to help prevent vision loss. Patient
with wet ARMD will be followed more carefully and more often by their eye doctor.