The term macular degeneration refers to a group of diseases that affect the macula. The most common form is the age-related degeneration. The degeneration may take two different forms: dry and wet forms.
The dry macular degeneration is the most common form. It develops slowly throughout the years and it is caused by a malfunction in the metabolism that leads to the accumulation of cellular debris (drusen) below the macula. They affect the sight only when enough debris has accumulated to cover up larger areas. These covered up areas are perceived as a difficulty to read in which letters and words seem to be missing or as a shadow in the range of vision. A dry macular degeneration does not implicate complete blindness, even in age, as sigh remains possible on the edges of the macula and thus spatial orientation remains possible. There is no adequate therapy for the dry form.
The wet form is characterized by a swelling of the centre of the macula, which is caused by abnormal blood vessels. This results in a serious decline of optic focus. An early symptom of the wet form is distorted sight. There are possibilities to treat this form of macular degeneration which stabilize or even improve the sight – an early diagnosis is crucial.
The wet form can successfully be treated with injections. This method inserts antibody fragments into inner eye segment and inhibits the growth of new blood vessels. The therapy is applied in a series of sessions, each every four to five weeks. In case of the age-related dry macular degeneration therapy focuses on eliminating risk factors – partial of even complete healing is not possible. The therapy has a healthy diet with whole foods at its core. Sport can stimulate the blood flow. Additionally, corrective lenses may help affected patients of both wet and dry forms to read and write.