Macular Degeneration: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Stages of Dry Macular Degeneration

Stages of Dry Macular Degeneration

There are three stages of dry AMD, which can be observed in both eyes.  The stages are defined by the numerous factors

Early-stage- In this stage, there is medium size drusen deposition with no change in pigments or loss of vision. The patient starts out as an early stage with no noticeable symptoms. If asked for doctors to check, they will detect little white spots in the retina known as drusen with usually occurs in advanced age. The efficiency of retinal cells is reduced, and it becomes difficult to perform tasks and home chores. The cause of AMD is considered to be oxidative stress and inflammation.

Oxidative stress is caused as a result of a disturbance in the balance between the production of oxygen-containing molecules that interact with other molecules inside the cell and the ability of the body to neutralize these molecules.

Antioxidants are molecules responsible for preventing harmful reactions to occur. They protect the body from free radicles, and their absence causes oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is initiated by numerous things, including bright light, a poor diet, which does not contain enough antioxidants. The inflammation occurs, which contributes to a number of age-related diseases, including age-related macular degeneration.

Patients with early AMD maintain a good vision for their entire lives, but they start to progress in late AMD.

Intermediate Stage- In this stage, large deposits of drusen can be observed, and pigment changes also occur. The person can suffer from mild vision loss; some people see a blurred spot in the center of their vision and can require lighter while reading and performing other daily chores.

 Late-Stage- This is an advanced stage of AMD, and people have a breakdown of light-sensitive cells and the one supporting tissue in the central retina area. It comes in two forms wet AMD and dry AMD, also known as geographic atrophy. The name is given because, in this advanced form of dry AMD, there are areas of the retina where cells die and waste away, known as atrophy, from where the term is initiated.

Geographic atrophy is caused by the death of photoreceptor cells (light-sensitive cells) along with retinal pigment epithelium cells (PRE). The area of atrophy expands over time and involves the entire central retina, which results in the formation of a blind spot in the middle of the visual field.

In some cases, the blurred spot will be bigger in this state, and the individual will have trouble in reading and identifying faces from a distance.

The dry form is more common than the wet form; in dry AMD, no choroidal neovascularization (CNV) or blood leakage into the retina is observed. The disease is initiated when another part of the retina called Brunch’s membrane is damaged, which causes the formation of the abnormal vessel, which can invade the retina as a healing effort that goes wrong. The individual can have visual distortion and reduced central vision in one or both eyes as the fluid immediately disrupts the vision over time.

Straight lines can appear to be bent, and increase blurriness can occur. This form can advance, causing complete vision loss without turning into wet macular degeneration.