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Macular Degeneration AMD

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Macular Degeneration AMD

The retina is the thin tissue that lines the inside back layer of the eye and transforms light from the images we see into nerve impulses. These nerve impulses are sent via the optic nerve to the brain where vision occurs. The macula is responsible for capturing detailed information from the center of our visual field. Macula gives us ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces, perceive color and contrast, and see fine details. When the cells of the macula deteriorate, images are not received correctly.

In early stages, macular degeneration does not affect vision but it diminished ability to see in low light. As the disease progresses people experience wavy or blurred vision. If the condition continues to worsen, central vision may be completely lost. Since the rest of the retina is still working, people retain their peripheral vision, which is not as clear as central vision.

Illustrations of loss of central vision:

Animation of loss of central vision


What are the signs of AMD?

Early symptoms of AMD may include difficulty in reading, difficulty in recognizing people’s faces and distortions in the central vision. The sight loss usually occurs gradually over time, although it can develop very rapidly due to sudden bleeding in the central area of the retina, the macula, with loss of central vision within a few days.

What are the types of AMD?

There are two basic types of Macular Degeneration: “dry” and “wet.”

Dry AMD and Wet AMD


Dry AMD is the most common, but less serious form of the disease affecting about 80% of patients. The cones and rods photo-receptors in the central retina become damaged and the central vision progressively deteriorates very slowly over a number of years.


Wet AMD is the most serious type affecting approximately 20% of patients and it is so called because abnormal new vessels grow under the retina and result in leakage of fluid and blood in the macula with rapid loss of central vision within days. This condition can now be successfully slowed down by early intervention in order to prevent permanent loss of central vision.

What is laser photocoagulation (Argon / Green Laser) for age-related macular degeneration?

Laser photocoagulation is a type of laser surgery for the eyes. It is done to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a condition that can lead to loss of vision. In rare cases, it can result in total blindness. Because AMD affects the macula, you may still have your side (peripheral) vision, but you may have a gradual or sudden loss of central vision.

The retina is the layer of cells in the back of your eye that converts light into electrical signals. Your retina then sends these signals to your brain. AMD affects your macula. The macula is the sensitive, central part of your retina. This area is responsible for the detailed vision in the middle of your visual field. AMD damages your macula. Blood vessels may grow beneath your macula, causing blood and fluid to leak beneath it. This excess blood and fluid can lead to vision loss.

Before the surgery, you are given an anesthetic eye drop. An eye doctor then uses an intense beam of light to burn small areas of the macula. This seals off the leaky blood vessels. This can help prevent more vision loss.

Why might I need Argon Green Laser for age-related macular degeneration?

Abnormal blood vessel growth is present in only the WET AMD. Laser photocoagulation is advised only for the wet type of the disease. Your eye doctor might advise the procedure if your abnormal blood vessels cluster tightly together. Your doctor may be more likely to advise the procedure if your vision loss comes on suddenly instead of slowly. Laser photocoagulation doesn’t always restore vision that you already have lost. However, it may slow down the damage to your central vision.

What happens during laser photocoagulation for age-related macular degeneration?

At Smile Laser Eye Centre Argon/Green laser is most often done as an outpatient procedure. During a typical procedure the eye doctor will use anesthetic eye drops to make sure you don’t feel anything. The doctor uses the laser to seal off the abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula. Your eye may be covered temporarily.

What happens after laser photocoagulation for age-related macular degeneration?

You should be able to go home the same day. Your eye may be a little sore after the procedure, but you should be able to take over-the-counter pain medicines. You may need to wear an eyepatch or dark glasses for a day or so.

Your vision may be blurry for a short while after the surgery. But in the long term it may help prevent your vision from getting worse.