Unlike other conditions or diseases that affect the other parts of the body, most of those that have an effect on the eyes are irreversible. This means that the chance of eye vision is highly possible if the eye disease is not diagnosed, managed, and treated at an early time.
A common eye condition that is prevalent among Singaporeans is called Macular Degeneration. With Singapore’s ageing population, the number of people with macular degeneration is at a steep climb. Based on ethnicity, research done previously showed that Singaporeans of Chinese and Indian descent are more at risk of developing macular degeneration at an early time. Globally, it is said that 8.7% of visual impairment or blindness is caused by age-related macular degeneration.
If you suspect that a family member might have this condition, continue reading this post about macular degeneration treatment in Singapore. The facts presented in this post are from reliable sources at Asia Retina.
Macular Degeneration: What is it?
Macular degeneration is a type of medical eye condition that is chronic and can be asymptomatic. There is no known cure or prevention for this eye disorder. Macular degeneration is generally caused by retinal damage. The injury affects the macula, which is located at the centre of the eye’s visual field.
Things to expect from a damaged macula
A damaged macula results in vision loss. The following symptoms can occur when macular degeneration develops:
- A gradual or fast onset of a blurred central vision
- Challenges encountered when identifying colours
- Dark spots or shadows in certain parts of vision
- Extra sensitivity to bright light
- Images seen are distorted with straight lines appearing as wavy
- Inability to distinguish the levels of a light’s brightness
Avoidance of permanent loss of vision
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent macular degeneration. Once it develops, it just worsens over time. The only way to treat it is to prevent it from worsening at a fast rate. That is why it is vital that the eyes are assessed and tested for symptoms at an earlier age. Since the onset of this condition does not obviously carry out signs of its presence, comprehensive eye exams must be done to accurately diagnose it.
Types of Macular Degeneration
There are two types of macular degeneration: wet and dry.
Wet macular degeneration is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels beneath the retina. The damage is done when these abnormal blood vessels leak alien substances, such as blood and proteins, into the retina. This type of macular degeneration advances quickly and when left untreated can result in loss of vision.
Dry macular degeneration is caused by a build-up of fat particles, called drusen, in the retina. When this happens, the damage affects the macula’s light-sensitive cells, which results in visual distortions or impairment.
In some cases, both wet and dry macular generation can affect the retina at one point.
Eye exams for macular degeneration
The following comprehensive eye exams can be done in order to spot the occurrence of macular degeneration in the eyes:
- Amsler Grid
- Fundus Fluorescein Angiogram (FFA)
- Indocyanine Angiogram (ICG)
- Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
The Amsler Grid test makes use of a grid image with a dot at the centre. To do the test, your doctor will ask you to cover one of your eyes and focus the other on the dot. Symptoms of macular degeneration are identified when there are missing squares, blurred parts, or wavy lines in y our vision.
The Fundus Fluorescein Angiogram and Indocyanine Angiogram are performed alike with the use of a fluorescent dye that is injected into the arm. This dye travels through the blood veins and eventually reaches the eye. Once it reaches the blood veins located in the eye, photos are taken. The photos capture any leaks from the blood vessels that get into the macula. This is usually the case when a person has wet age-related macular degeneration.
The Optical Coherence Tomography test is done with the use of light waves. The way this test is performed mimics an ultrasound test. The light waves are passed through dilated eyes. Photos of the eyes are captured as the light waves pass through. These photos are then assessed to see if macular degeneration exists.
Treatments for Macular Degeneration
A cure for macular degeneration has not yet been discovered. At best, both wet and dry conditions of macular degeneration are treated with procedures that focus on prolonging the eyes visions by delaying the progress of the condition.
Since dry macular degeneration does not progress fast, doctors recommend having regular eye assessments done in order to track its development. For wet macular degeneration, several treatments are available in order to destroy the abnormal blood vessels that cause damage to the retina. These treatments include drug therapy, laser treatments, and photodynamic procedures.
Foods and habits that can aggravate macular degeneration
Patients are asked to give up smoking once they are diagnosed with dry macular degeneration. Likewise, a change in diet is advised to lower the risk of the condition’s advancement. Processed foods that are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, along with vegetable fats and linoleic acid should be scrapped from your grocery list. Below are examples of the commercially manufactured foods that patients with macular degeneration should stay away from:
- French fries
- Peanut butter
- Potato chips
To improve the eyes health, consume more green leafy vegetables and eat more food that are rich in Omega-3, such as fish.
Asia Retina – Eye Specialist in Singapore
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