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Central retinal degeneration

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What is central retinal degeneration?

Central retinal degeneration is the deterioration of the central region of the retina in the area of the posterior pole of eyeball. It can result both from the trauma and inflammatory process that involve the retina and be genetic. The hereditary central retinal degeneration is frequently called age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). This disease is mainly manifested in women elder than 65 years of age. The first signs can be found even earlier. ARMD can lead to marked visual impairment and a central visual field defect. At the early stage of the disease it is possible to slow the loss of vision and preserve the available visual functions.

What is the cause of central retinal degeneration/age-related macular degeneration?

Although the exact mechanism for the disease is not completely understood, some data show that it is based on disturbed metabolism in the retinal cells. Thus, it results in the decrease in a number of useful pigments protecting the retina from harmful light, accumulation of an age pigment and metabolic products that deposit in the retinal tissue as drusen.

What are the forms of central retinal degeneration/age-related macular degeneration?

There are 2 types of ARMD: dry and wet. The dry type starts with retinal drusen and redistribution of pigment, with decreased vision acuity and signs being insignificant.

The wet form is accompanied by edema in the central retinal part associated with the invasion of vessels into this area and subsequent tissue changes. At the stage, spatial vision can be significantly decreased or be nearly non-existent.

How is central retinal degeneration/age-related macular degeneration manifested?

Visual impairment, difficulty in reading, especially if the light is bad, omission of letters in rapid reading, and distortion of object outlines are possible.

How is central retinal degeneration/age-related macular degeneration treated?

The primary objective of treatment at the initial stages is to preserve the available visual functions and prevent the subsequent disease with transformation of the dry form into the wet one.

For this, in case of the dry form it is recommended to use dietary supplements containing antioxidants, lutein, and zinc or drugs improving blood circulation to prevent progression of the disease.

In the wet form medicinal agents can be introduced into the eye (angiogenesis inhibitors, corticosteroids). Peptide bioregulators can be indicated in any forms (Retinalamin).

If the therapy is ineffective and vision impairment is progressing, a shift to laser and surgical treatment is possible.



O. V. Zaitseva

Candidate of Medical Sciences, Senior Research Scientist of the Helmholtz Research Institute of Eye Diseases

If you complain of visual impairment, difficulties in reading, especially if the light is bad, omission of letters in rapid reading, and distortion of object outlines consult a doctor and follow all treatment recommendations.

Patients with a concurrent cardiovascular pathology (arterial hypertension, atherosclerotic vascular disease), lipid storage disease, diabetes mellitus, overweight, patients who smoke or have a family history of central retinal degeneration must exercise particular caution when the complaints occur.

In high radiation, protective eyewear that filter UV light is recommended.

An ophthalmologist shall recommend a patient with soft drusen to have a daily self-control using the Amsler grid and refer to an ophthalmologist if any new symptoms arise as the type of drusen is at higher risk of acuity decrease.



O. V. Zaitseva

Candidate of Medical Sciences, Senior Research Scientist of the Helmholtz Research Institute of Eye Diseases

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