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Modern Ophthalmic Center

Modern Ophthalmic Center is considered the first dedicated center for eye diseases and surgeries in Egypt and the Middle East. Since its foundation in 1992, the center offers the best service possible, according to the most recent modalities.
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Age related macular degeneration is a medical condition that usually affects older adults that results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field (the macula) because of damage to the retina. It occurs in “dry” and “wet” forms. It is a major cause of visual impairment in older adults (>50 years). Macular degeneration can make it difficult or impossible to read or recognize faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life.

The inner layer of the eye is the retina, which contains nerves that communicate sight, and behind the retina is the choroid, which contains the blood supply to the macula (the central part of the retina). In the dry (nonexudative) form, cellular debris called drusen accumulates between the retina and the choroid, and the retina can become detached. In the wet (exudative) form, which is more severe, blood vessels grow up from the choroid behind the retina, and the retina can also become detached. It can be treated with laser coagulation, and with medication that stops and sometimes reverses the growth of blood vessels.

Although some macular dystrophies affecting younger individuals are sometimes referred to as macular degeneration, the term generally refers to age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD).

Age-related macular degeneration begins with characteristic yellow deposits in the macula (central area of the retina, which provides detailed central vision, called the fovea) called drusen between the retinal pigment epithelium and the underlying choroid. Most people with these early changes (referred to as age-related maculopathy) have good vision. People with drusen can go on to develop advanced AMD. The risk is considerably higher when the drusen are large and numerous and associated with disturbance in the pigmented cell layer under the macula. Recent research suggests that large and soft drusen are related to elevated cholesterol deposits and may respond to cholesterol-lowering agents.

Researchers from the University of Southampton reported October 7, 2008 that they had discovered six mutations of the gene SERPING1 that are associated with AMD. Mutations in this gene can also cause hereditary angioedema.

Advanced AMD, which is responsible for profound vision loss but never total blindness, has two forms: dry and wet.

Dry AMD
Central geographic atrophy, the “dry” form of advanced AMD, results from atrophy to the retinal pigment epithelial layer below the retina, which causes vision loss through loss of photoreceptors (rods and cones) in the central part of the eye. While no treatment is available for this condition, vitamin supplements with high doses of antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, have been suggested by the National Eye Institute and others to slow the progression of dry macular degeneration and, in some patients, improve visual acuity.

Wet AMD
Neovascular or exudative AMD, the “wet” form of advanced AMD, causes vision loss due to abnormal blood vessel growth (choroidal neovascularization) in the choriocapillaris, through Bruch's membrane, ultimately leading to blood and protein leakage below the macula. Bleeding, leaking, and scarring from these blood vessels eventually cause irreversible damage to the photoreceptors and rapid vision loss if left untreated.
Until recently, no effective treatments were known for wet macular degeneration. However, new drugs, called anti-angiogenics or anti-VEGF (anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) agents, can cause regression of the abnormal blood vessels and improvement of vision when injected directly into the vitreous humor of the eye. The injections can be painful and frequently have to be repeated on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. Examples of these agents include ranibizumab (trade name Lucentis), bevacizumab (trade name Avastin, a close chemical relative of ranibizumab) and pegaptanib (trade name Macugen). Only ranibizumab and pegaptanib are approved by the FDA for AMD as of April 2007. Bevacizumab is approved, but for other indications. Pegaptanib (Macugen) has been found to have benefits in neovascular AMD. Worldwide, bevacizumab has been used extensively despite its "off label" status. Photodynamic therapy has also been used to treat wet AMD.

Cause
  • Aging
  • Family history
  • Macular degeneration gene
  • Mutation of the ATP synthase gene
  • Stargardt’s disease (STGD, also known as Juvenile Macular Degeneration)
  • Drusen CMSD
  • Arg80Gly variant of the complement protein C3
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiovascular status — high cholesterol, obesity.
  • High fat intake
  • Oxidative stress
  • Fibulin-5 mutation
  • Race Macular degeneration
  • Exposure to sunlight especially blue light
  • Smoking
Diagnosis
Fluorescein angiography allows for the identification and localization of abnormal vascular processes. Optical coherence tomography is now used by most ophthalmologists in the diagnosis and the followup evaluation of the response to treatment by using either Avastin or Lucentis, which are injected into the vitreous of the eye at various intervals.
 
 
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