Information on Wet AMD
The diagnosis of Wet AMD is daunting, and you may understandably fear the loss of sight and independence. Over 20,000 patients are diagnosed each year in the UK, so you are not alone. We and other organisations are here to help you.
Wet AMD is caused when abnormal blood vessels grow into the macula area, which is responsible for central vision. Blood or fluid leaks from these vessels causing scarring and a rapid loss of vision. Fortunately AMD can now be treated with regular injections to stop the growth of abnormal vessels and stabilise vision.
We use drugs called VEGF-inhibitors to treat Wet AMD. These drugs are given as intra-vitreal injections - small injections into the eye. This sounds a lot worse than it is, and most patients feel only mild discomfort. This is the only treatment at present, and the AMD nurse and consultant will discuss risks and benefits with you.
You will receive injections once per month, starting at your first appointment, for 3 months and will be reviewed to check progress. At this point, around 20% of patients require no more treatment and are monitored at increasing intervals. Most patients do need further injections and are checked and treated at regular intervals. By slowly extending the time between visits we are able to find the right interval for you. Some patients benefit from monthly monitoring.
Living with macular disease
Millions of people have macular disease, and continue to live normally. Wet AMD will not cause you to go blind as it affects central rather than peripheral vision, but you may have to give up driving at some point. Help is available to teach you to how to use your vision to read, cook, watch television – all the other things you have always done.
You may benefit from changing the lighting in your home to provide brighter light and more contrast, and may want to use a magnifying lens for reading, consider large-print books and e-books.
Help and advice is available from many sources, and we will make sure you access the support you need. Here are some links to other organisations with information on sight loss and macular disease: