Do You Know What Dry Macular Degeneration Is?
There are two types of Macular Degeneration, commonly called Dry Macular Degeneration and Wet Macular Degeneration.
All cases are thought to start with the dry from.
Between 10 and 15 percent of the people who show signs of Dry AMD eventually develop Wet Macular Degeneration.
Although there is only one kind of dry macular degeneration, you may hear it called atrophic, geographic atrophy, or nonexudative macular degeneration.
Atrophic or Atrophy refers to a declining, weakening, or wasting away.
We often use the word to talk about muscles that haven’t been used in a great while and lose their strength as a result.
We can exercise our muscles and regain strength, but unlike our muscles, atrophy in our macula isn’t currently reversible. This is because the macula atrophies from a lock of oxygen, not a lack of use.
As we know, any part of our body that suffers a prolonged lack of oxygen usually sustains permanent damage.
Geographic atrophy of the macula means atrophy concentrated in on contiguous are of the macula.
Nonexudative means not exuding, or not discharging:
There is no blood leakage in the macula, contributing to the malfunctioning of the conveyor belt system.
Dry AMD is usually signaled by the presence in the macula of small pale spots called Drusen.
There are two types of drusen: less harmful hard drusen and more ominous soft drusen.
Hard drusen are small, round, sharply defined light yellow deposits of lipid (a fatty compound) and calcium that accumulated on Bruch’s membrane.
They are quite common with age, appearing in most older eyes like are spots appear on skin, and dare not necessarily thought to indicate macular degeneration.
Soft drusen can be nearly twice the size of hard drusen, the indistinct margins and varying sizes and shapes.
While soft drusen can be seen in older eyes that don’t develop full-blown AMD, they have been considered an early indicator of the condition, perhaps because they are the first feature of AMD that we can detect in an affected eye.
Recently, however, researchers have suggested that by the time we can see soft drusen in the eye, macular degeneration may already be advance.
Soft Dresen are thought to plug up the conveyor belt system in dry macular degeneration.
Some researchers also believe that soft drusen are responsible for wet macular degeneration because they may weaken Bruch’s membrane or because they may trigger the proliferation of abnormal blood vessels.
Other researchers disagree, arguing that soft drusen occur because Bruch's Membrane has already been weakened for some other reason.
In any case, soft drusen signal to Bruch’s membrane and us that the conveyor belt support system for the macula is malfunctioning is week, which may allow abnormal blood vessels from the choroids to creep through.
In worse cases of Dry Macular Degeneration, topical steroid drops are used.
This reduces inflammation in the tear producing glands such as the Lacrimal Gland.
Often they are used for up to 3 weeks in conjunction with the artificial tears.
If further therapy is necessary, Restasis is used to increase tear production.
This is essentially Cyclosporin, which is an anti-autoimmune medication. It is affective, but must be used twice per day for at least 3-6 months, and often longer.
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