In a report from the UK’s The Mirror from a few days ago (March 20, 2012), it is stated that there is no reliable cure for ARMD (age-related macular degeneration).
According to The Mirror, ARMD affected almost 250,000 people in 2011. The condition is more prevalent in women, and is hereditary. It manifests as either “wet” or “dry”; wet ARMD is when blood vessels in the eye impede on the macula (near the center of the retina), while dry ARMD results from the loss of photoreceptors in the eye. Nine out of 10 cases of ARMD are the dry form, says the report.
ARMD clouds one’s central vision, leaving the peripheries unaffected. This makes tasks such as driving, reading, and writing very difficult. Even recognizing peoples’ faces can be an issue people with ARMD have to deal with.
Aside from the assumption that there is no effective treatment available for ARMD (doctors in the US are using new medications in the form of eye injections, called EYLEA, a market name for aflibercept), the report talks about steps that can be taken to prevent ARMD.
There exists a 70% higher risk of getting age-related macular degeneration for smokers than for non-smokers, which is one more reason to quit. Also recommended are regular check-ups for high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. High blood sugar can also lead to myriad health problems, including diabetes and ARMD.
Untreated cases of wet ARMD can lead to severe loss of vision within the short span of two years, so serious tackling of the condition and treating it is very important.
The Mirror is correct in the steps one must take in order to ensure good vision and healthy eyes into old age, but it is needlessly pessimistic. Doctors are vying for new options, and recent forays into new types of medication have proven fruitful, and there is more hope for ARMD sufferers than this article implies.
It is more important for those with impaired vision to know they can be helped, than for them to know that Judi Dench has a hard time reading scripts due to ARMD.
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