One of the most frequent problems in the consultations of retina specialists is the AMD or Age-Related Macular Degeneration, an illness degenerative which affects the central vision of the retina, called macula, with an increasing incidence in the population as a consequence of the increase in life expectancy in our country.
Several studies already point to Spain as one of the older countries in 2050 with people older than 65 years, of which between a 7%-10% suffer from DMAE according to the latest scientific publications. Figures that increase exponentially with older age.
“Increasing the age of patients increases the prevalence of AMD. In the past, lacking accurate diagnostic technology and effective treatments, this disease estaba infradiagnosticada”, Explains the doctor Patricia Devesa, ophthalmologist specializing in retina from the Oftalvist clinic.
However, the doctor insists that today “in patients with active macular degeneration, a preventive action along with a early treatment good results can be achieved, either by preventing disease progression or even improving it. What has happened in recent months is that many patients with AMD have not followed their follow-up and treatment regimen and have gotten a lot worse in this pandemic period”.
How to treat Macular Degeneration?
The treatment for AMD in its wet form is performed in Oftalvist centers with antiangiogenic drugs which are injected intravitreally into the eye according to the appropriate schedule for each patient, either monthly, bi-monthly or for a longer period. The follow-up of this protocol therefore becomes a part essential for the best prognosis of visual quality of these patients. And in the case of suspending the treatment, “it would be like going back to the beginning and the state of your vision may be even worse than it had started,” the doctor also insists. Juan Carlos Elvira from Oftalvist’s Retina and Macula Unit.
For its part, for patients with atrophic or dry macular degeneration, “The most frequent and with the highest rate of blindness worldwide, does not have a specific treatment and effective so far, ”says Dr. Delgado.
Hence “the importance of early diagnostic since treatment in the earliest stage of this disease, in any of its forms, will always improve its prognosis ”.
Advances in DMAE
The Oftalvist Group participates and currently coordinates a clinical trial program with two international studies specifically on the atrophy associated with AMD with which hopeful results are being obtained to stop the deterioration that these patients suffer in vision and of those who may benefit in the near future at Oftalvist centers.
In addition, the ophthalmological group has also been involved in research projects to reduce the number of intravitreal injections in patients with wet AMD, diabetic macular edema and retinal venous thrombosis with drugs of longer duration in the eye.
Other diseases of the retina associated with blindness
It is worth mentioning that another of the common reasons for consultation and even emergencies in specialized retina clinics, such as Oftalvist, are retinal detachments and vitreous-macular pathology (macular hole and epiretinal membranes).
What is retinal detachment?
“Retinal detachment is a pathology in which the retina detaches from the pigment epithelium and threatens correct visual function, since if it is not recovered, mainly with surgical techniques, vision can be lost”, Warns Dr. Elvira.
The symptom of a retinal detachment that can alert us according to specialists are “the appearance of a dark shadow in the visual field, blurry vision sudden, display of floaters and / or distortion in the images ”.
Treatment for retinal detachment
Fortunately, today the vitrectomía it is the most effective solution for retinal detachment.
“It is a minimal incision surgery with which we act on the vitreous gel that is the main responsible for the tears, due to the traction exerted by the vitreous fibers on that retina, or in the other case on the alterations that produce retinal holes and epiretinal membranes ”, adds Dr. Devesa.
Therefore, if it is taken in time and the chosen surgical technique is adequate, “the percentage of visual healing and recovery is high”.
Something that also worries patients who undergo a treatment for retinal detachment is the Recovery. “In general the postoperative period after vitrectomy is favorable and the patient can lead a normal life the following days, although he may require a series of care between 2 and 4 weeks so as not to compromise the ocular area that has been intervened ”.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.