Friday, March 10, 2006

AMD Treatments 62

Chapter Five
Treatments for the Neovascular or Wet Form of AMD


Introduction

As has already been mentioned, the wet form of AMD is caused by the growth of new blood vessels beneath the retina. These blood vessels are called choroidal neovascularization because they start in the choroid and grow inward toward the retina. The abnormal blood vessels leak fluid or blood beneath and into the retina. The retina normally is smooth and flat like a mirror. When fluid accumulates under it, the vision becomes distorted. Doctors call this symptom of distorted vision, metamorphopsia. Patients may notice that the lines of objects such as telephone poles or window frames, which they know to be perfectly straight, now look bent to them. The Amsler grid, with its checkerboard pattern of lines, helps patients detect distorted vision as early as possible (see Chapter One). In addition to being distorted, the vision is usually also blurred because the retina is elevated and swollen and cannot produce a good picture to send back to the brain. Finally, a patient with wet AMD may also notice blind spots in or around the center of his or her vision. These blind spots may be due to blood or scar tissue beneath the retina.

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