The yellow spot (macula) is the center of the nerve layer of the eye called the retina. We define the disease of this region, which is usually seen in advanced ages, as yellow spot disease (age-related macular degeneration). Old age disease? Typically seen in the age of 50 or over. There are similar retinal diseases that rarely occur at an earlier age. Does it blind?
Yes, it can go as far as blindness. In fact, it is the most common cause of blindness in advanced ages in developed countries. The disease has become a very serious social problem today. What are the symptoms? The most common symptom is decreased vision. We do most of our daily work such as driving, reading, recognizing faces, watching television, thanks to the detailed vision of the macula (yellow dot). In this disease, our central vision is impaired and vision is reduced. In addition, problems such as the perception of door edges as curved rather than straight may occur. Symptoms such as seeing colors pale, seeing shadows or dark spots on objects may also be seen.
Even if they do not have any complaints, all age groups should have an annual routine eye examination. Especially people aged 50 and over should have a detailed eye examination including retinal examination and eye tomography. These examinations give an early diagnosis chance. In addition, it is necessary to consult an ophthalmologist without wasting time in the presence of symptoms such as decreased vision, seeing objects-lines skewed, seeing colors pale, seeing dark spots on objects.
There is a genetic predisposition to the disease. If you have yellow spot disease in close relatives, your risk is also high. Of course, if none of your relatives has this disease, it may still occur in you. The main risk factor is advancing age. In addition, light eyes, hypertension, heart disease, smoking history and overexposure to UV rays are other factors that increase the risk. The disease is more common in women.
The diagnosis can be made easily with a detailed eye examination and auxiliary examinations such as eye tomography, eye angiography.
There are 2 types of yellow spot disease, dry and wet. Dry type is seen in 90 percent of patients. This type of vision loss develops gradually over the years. There is not yet a complete treatment method for the dry type with proven efficacy. Various vitamins and mineral supplements are used. The wet type is the less common but generally more aggressive form of the disease. If effective treatment is not applied, vision loss develops rapidly. The disease may start as a dry type and later turn into a wet type.
Anti-VEGF drug injections are used in the treatment of wet type. These drugs prevent new vessel formation that causes bleeding and fluid accumulation. In order to achieve good results from the treatment, the treatment process should be explained to the patients in detail and the patient should be checked regularly.
The most important points in protecting the patient from blindness are to be able to catch the disease at an early stage without any damage and to be able to make injections (needle therapy) when necessary without delay. There is no routine surgical treatment for this disease. However, in the advanced stages of the disease, some lenses that have the ability to magnify the image can be placed in the eye, allowing people to be more independent in their daily work.