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Macular Degeneration Home Monitoring

The following is supplemental material provided about new technology related to home monitoring of macular degeneration. Please note that I am not endorsing, nor do I receive any compensation for this technology or its use. Still, I believe in the science behind the HOME study which showed that using this system helped detect changes in macular degeneration earlier than the use of an Amsler Grid. Please take this to heart when reading this material. If you want to hear my take on macular degeneration, click on the educational link above or go to the associated page on this site.

What is Age-related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of blindness in the United States.

The disease affects the macula at the back of your eye, which is the part of the retina that lets you see fine detail, like facial features or words on a page, and can rob your ability to drive or watch television.

Age is the greatest risk factor for AMD and people over 50 are at the greatest risk . Other risk factors include smoking, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, obesity, and family history.

There are 2 types of AMD: wet and dry.

What is dry AMD?

About 85% of people with AMD have dry AMD. In dry AMD, changes occur in the cells of the macula. Yellow deposits called “drusen” build up under the retina, and as the size and number of these deposits increase, so does the risk of developing wet AMD.

Symptoms of dry AMD may include blurry vision, such as difficulty seeing sharp details, both up close and from a distance.

Most importantly, dry AMD puts you at an increased risk of progressing to wet AMD, which can cause significant vision loss without treatment. Dry AMD can suddenly change to wet AMD without notice, and you may not notice any changes or decline in your vision.

There is currently no cure or treatment for dry AMD but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing wet AMD. These include healthy lifestyle choices, like not smoking, and taking AREDS2 vitamins daily. It’s also important to monitor your eyes with at-home testing between office visits.

There is home-monitoring technology available that is sensitive to changes in AMD. The ForeseeHome® AMD Monitoring Program is an easy-to-use early warning system for your eyes that can catch the progression from dry to wet AMD as soon as it happens, which lets your doctor step in sooner and initiate treatment if necessary. People preserved more of their vision when wet AMD was detected using ForeseeHome between office visit.

Learn more about the FDA-cleared ForeseeHome.

What is wet AMD?

If dry AMD converts to wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow under and into the retina (in the macula). These blood vessels leak fluid and sometimes bleed without any warning. When this happens, significant vision loss can be rapid and severe.

Vision loss occurs because wet AMD destroys the sharp, central vision needed to see objects clearly. Symptoms of wet AMD include straight lines appearing wavy and seeing a dark spot (or spots) in the center of your vision.

Some people don’t notice any changes until significant vision loss has occurred. Damage from wet AMD can prevent you from being able to do simple everyday activities, such as see faces clearly, drive a car, or read and write.

Early detection of wet AMD allows your doctor to step in sooner so he or she can either quickly begin treatment, or refer you to a Retina Specialist for treatment, to help preserve your good vision.

Duncan Friedman
Retina Specialist
San Antonio, Texas