Introduction - Wet Macular Degeneration

The wet macular degeneration is the rarer of the two age-associated diseases of the macula (yellow spot), 10 to 15 percent. In the course of the wet macular disease, however, is much more aggressive.
In wet macular degeneration, new blood vessels grow "pathologically" from the choroid into the macula or fovea (the place of sharpest vision), which leads to bleeding and water retention (edema).

How common is wet macular degeneration?

In Germany alone, more than 4 million people suffered from macular degeneration in 2008. According to estimates by the UN, the number of sick people worldwide is around 25 to 30 million.

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Nevertheless, only 14 percent of Germans can imagine something under the term macular degeneration and assign it to an eye disease, although macular degeneration is now a widespread disease.

  • Around 20 percent of those aged 65 to 74 and
  • around 35 percent of 75 to 84 year olds have the dry form of macular degeneration and
  • 10 to 15 percent have the wet form of macular degeneration. Approximately 50,000 patients develop age-related macular degeneration every year.

Detecting wet macular degeneration

What are the symptoms of wet macular degeneration?

The wet macular degeneration often leads to a rapid and lasting loss of visual acuity.
In the early stages, straight lines (tile joints, window crossings) are distorted when looking. Gray shadows, distortions or a blurry spot can be seen in the middle of the text to be read. This is often accompanied by a disruption of color perception, while black and white vision remains unaffected.

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When bleeding occurs, there is usually a sudden loss of the ability to read and there is a central visual field defect (central scotoma).

How is wet macular degeneration diagnosed?

Appropriate controls by an ophthalmologist are recommended from the age of 60. The Amsler grid can be used as a test to check the eyes for wet macular degeneration from time to time.
In addition to a possible glaucoma (glaucoma) to be able to recognize and treat at an early stage, regular eye checks should be carried out from the age of 40.

Treating Wet Macular Degeneration

How is wet macular degeneration treated?

According to a newly developed treatment recommendation, a drug is injected into the eye according to a newly developed treatment recommendation so that the progression of the degenerative changes in wet macular degeneration can be delayed or stopped or existing changes can be healed (intravitreal injection).

The active ingredient contained therein can push back the newly formed blood vessels and thereby stabilize an existing disease (i.e. make the macula dry again) or even improve it. As a rule, this treatment will have to be carried out on an outpatient basis several times with an interval of 6 weeks.

Preventing wet macular degeneration

What Causes Wet Macular Degeneration?

The main risk factors for age-related macular degeneration are:

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  • Smoke,
  • Eye exposure to light and UV radiation as well
  • High blood pressure.
  • Genetic disposition (inheritance) also plays a role.

The disease increases sharply with age, often after the age of 60. Due to the generally higher life expectancy of women, age-related diseases, such as wet macular degeneration, occur more frequently in women than in men.

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How can wet macular degeneration be prevented?

Apart from the above-mentioned risk factors such as obesity and smoking, one or the other habit should also be checked in everyday life:

  • Long screen work
  • Long television
  • Needlework
  • Very long reading

These activities can severely tire and overload the eyes. Exercise and fresh air are a good way to give your eyes a break and provide a healthy balance.

Course of wet macular degeneration

How does wet macular degeneration work?

The wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can be weakened by injecting growth inhibitors (so-called VEGF antagonists) into the inside of the eye. These drugs are then able to inhibit the growth of the vessels in the macula.
While methods such as photodynamic therapy or laser, which are only suitable for a few patients, were used for wet macular degeneration in the past, these are rarely found in therapy today. Loss of vision can be stopped or at least slowed down with the VEGF antagonists.

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