Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects the macula, the most central part of the retina and the richest in photoreceptors, therefore responsible for central vision, i.e. the fine and detailed vision that allows us to read, recognize people's faces, perform precision work and drive a car.
Atrophic AMD is the most common form of AMD and is characterized by the presence of drusen, which can be observed in a fundus examination as small yellowish spots.
Atrophic AMD causes a progressive alteration of the macula and atrophy and cell death of photoreceptors(cones and rods).
What are the symptoms?
- Blurry, distorted or wavy vision;
- Altered perception of colors;
- Loss of contrast;
- Difficult visual adaptation in the passage between light and shadow;
What are the risks?
How it is diagnosed?
Atrophic AMD can be diagnosed and monitored using instrumental tests such as high-resolution optical coherence tomography (HR-OCT).
Any evolution towards the neovascular form can be highlighted by performing fluorescence angiography (FAG) and indocyanine green angiography (ICGA).
After the age of 50 it is very important to undergo regular eye checks with accurate monitoring of the retina. In this way, it is possible to highlight the possible presence of atrophic AMD, which in the initial stages may be asymptomatic, monitor its progression and, in the event of evolution towards the exudative form, immediately resort to the most appropriate treatment, thus safeguarding vision.
There are several risk factors for maculopathy, among these the most important are older age, genetic susceptibility, cigarette smoking, excessive exposure to UV rays without adequate eye protection, an unbalanced diet (too rich in animal fats and low in vegetables and antioxidants), hypercholesterolemia, uncontrolled systemic hypertension, lack of physical exercise.
The presence of a genetic risk factor can be highlighted by a genetic test capable of detecting the possible presence of genetic susceptibility. In this case, a consultation with an expert geneticist can offer the patient a personalized prevention program aimed at lowering the risk of onset of the disease.