Increase in the delivery of a treatment for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) has resulted in a significant 50% reduction of new cases of blindness in Denmark, according to a study published in the American Journal of Opthamology. Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of blindness in the West. Specifically, AMD patients lose reading vision and their ability to drive, resulting in revocation of their drivers’ license.
Wet AMD is the most serious type of macular degeneration. Abnormal blood vessels start to grow in the eye, toward the yellow spot in the middle of the retina called the macular. The macular provides the most visual acuity, as well as perception of color. Wet AMD results in quick and severe loss of vision.
In the Danish study, the records of 11,848 cases of legal blindness were examined. In 2000, new blindness from AMD in adults aged 50+ was 52.2 cases/100,000 people. Just 10 years later, the rate was 25.7 cases/100,000 people. The rate of blindness from AMD was cut in half. (Blindness from other causes was reduced by 33% in this period.)
The reduction of blindness from AMD was credited to the introduction of a new treatment for wet AMD in Denmark in 2006. That was the year when most of the drop in blindness from wet AMD started to occur.
The treatment involves repeated injections of a medication that inhibits the action of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). This antiangiogenic medication is injected directly into the vitreous, an inner compartment of the eye. VEGF is a protein that can cause brittle blood vessels to form, which leak blood and cause scarring beneath the fovea. The medication helps stop these blood vessels from forming.
The causes of wet AMD are under investigation and may include genetics, free radical damage, nutritional deficiencies and poor digestion. Common sense tells you that disease doesn’t “just happen.” Most eye disease is preventable, and we may soon understand all the factors that cause wet AMD. The current treatment for wet AMD is injections of antiangiogenesis drugs, but dietary elements can also have an antiangiogenic effect.
At Natural Eye Care, we suggest taking care of your eyes throughout your life through a healthy diet, juicing, the reduction or elimination of certain foods and alcohol, supplements, exercise, and stress reduction. Click to see our recommendations for preventing eye disease through a healthy lifestyle.
Source: Incidence of Legal Blindness From Age-Related Macular Degeneration in Denmark: Year 2000 to 2010 by Sara Brandi Blochemail, Michael Larsen, Inger Christine Munch in American Journal of Opthamology, 17 October 2011.