What is Yellow Spot Disease (Age-Related Macular Degeneration)?
Yellow Spot Disease (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) is the loss of central vision as a result of the progression of receptor cells in the retinal layer of the eye, in the macula region, which is responsible for clear vision.
The macula area is located behind our eyes and is the area that allows us to see details. Thanks to the function this region fulfills, we are able to read a book, pass the thread through the eye of the needle and do many other works that require a fine detailed view.
In people with macular degeneration, central vision loss begins with the death of nerve cells in the center of the visual field. This loss of vision, which starts in the center, expands towards the edges over time. While patients see a dark spot in the center, they also see it in the form of a ring at the edges. As a result of all these, the quality of life of patients is seriously affected.
What are The Causes of Yellow Spot Disease (Age-Related Macular Degeneration)?
Yellow spot disease is seen especially from the age of 50 – 55 and progressively progresses with advancing age. While the incidence of macular degeneration in the age of 60-65 is around 6-7%, this rate reaches up to 20% by the age of 80. In other words, almost 1 in 5 people have this disease.
- One of the most effective factors in the occurrence of macular degeneration is genetic transmission. If there is a family history of macular degeneration, the probability of developing the disease increases.
- The incidence of yellow spot disease increases in people with hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases.
- Having an unbalanced and unhealthy diet. Not getting enough nutrition, especially with foods that contain beneficial minerals and vitamins for the eye.
- Leading a sedentary life.
- Being a long time and heavy smoker.
- Factors such as exposure to ultraviolet rays (especially in light-colored eyes) may cause macular degeneration by disrupting the structure of the tissues.
What are The Symptoms of Yellow Spot Disease (Age-Related Macular Degeneration)?
Most macular degeneration patients do not realize they have macular degeneration until their central vision deteriorates.
When the patient looks at a nearby or distant object or person, he cannot see the fine details of that object or person.
Unable to recognize object or person. The side view, called the peripheral view, is preserved.
The patient sees the numbers of the clock on the wall clock. However, he cannot choose the minute hand and the hour hand. In the advanced stages of the disease, vision loss may develop so severe that the patient cannot meet his own needs.
Symptoms of Dry Type Macular Degeneration
- Blurring in far and near vision
- Need for more light for better vision
- Colors appear paler
- Visual impairment when changing from bright light to dim light
- Difficulty recognizing faces
- Dark and blurred areas in central vision
Symptoms of Wet Type Macular Degeneration
- Seeing straight lines as crooked
- Loss of central vision
- Black or empty fields not seen in the center
- Size differences between the two eyes
- Colors are less bright
The signs of wet macular degeneration progress rapidly and worsen.
What are The Types of Yellow Spot Disease (Age-Related Macular Degeneration)?
There are two types of the disease, dry and wet.
This type is seen in 90% of patients and vision declines slowly and over a period of years. In the dry type, deposits called drusen appear in the yellow spot.
These deposits may not initially cause vision problems. However, if the problem progresses, the cells in the yellow spot are damaged.
This patient begins to see the area he is looking at as distorted.
If it progresses further, the disease may pass into the atrophic stage and the person may completely lose their central vision. Protective and antioxidant pills are recommended as treatment for these patients.
Macular degeneration is a condition characterized by the formation of new vessels under the retina and fluid leakage from the vessels.
In case of unwanted new vessel formation, edema occurs between the cells in the macular degeneration. And vision decreases faster.
Sometimes bleeding occurs in new vessels. Sudden vision loss may also occur.
In the recent period, scar tissue may appear as a result of bleeding, and the yellow spot feature disappears completely. And loss of central vision may occur.
What are The Risk Factors of Yellow Spot Disease (Age-Related Macular Degeneration)?
There are many risk factors in macular degeneration (macular degeneration). Studies show that the following factors are in a linear relationship with the incidence of the disease.
As age increases, the incidence of yellow spot disease increases. In particular, individuals over the age of 50 are more susceptible to this disease.
Family History and Genetic Factors:
Studies have discovered many genes responsible for macular degeneration. Therefore, the disease is thought to be hereditary.
Yellow spot disease is more common in the white race.
Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of yellow spot disease.
Studies show that obesity has an effect on the faster progression of early stage yellow spot disease.
If an individual has cardiovascular diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels, they are at higher risk for macular degeneration.
How is Yellow Spot Disease (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of macular degeneration is mainly made by examination of the fundus of the eye. Ancillary tests, on the other hand, guide the treatment by giving us more detailed information about the clinic of the disease. These tests include eye angiography and optical coherence retinal tomography.
What Kind of Examination is Eye Angiography (FFA)?
With eye angiography, the vessels in the retina are examined.
With this examination, the structure of the vessels at the base of the eye is examined after the drug given through the arm vein.
In other words, if there are formed veins, the structure, location and dimensions of these veins are examined.
What Kind of Examination is Optical Coherence Retinal Tomography (OCT)?
Cross-sectional examination of the retina is performed with OCT. In this way, the structures of the cell layers in the retina can be visualized with a precision of 1-3 microns.
With this method, losses in cell layers, edema, hemorrhages and new vessel formations can be examined. This examination is very useful for the clinician in terms of the diagnosis of the disease and the follow-up of the response to treatment.
How is Yellow Spot Disease (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) Treated?
The most important factor affecting the success of treatment in yellow spot disease, which has two types, dry and wet, is as follows:
It is based on the determination of the right treatment for the right patient as a result of the eye drop examination and detailed examinations of the ophthalmologist.
Early diagnosis is of great importance as it causes vision loss in advanced stages in the wet type.
Treatment options are as follows:
For Patients with Dry Type Yellow Spot Disease:
Treatments such as anti-oxidant vitamins A, C, E, lutein, zinc and valeda light transmission system are applied.
For Patients with Wet Type Yellow Spot Disease:
They are treated with a series of intraocular injections.
Injections prevent the formation of new vessels. And it prevents the leakage of fluid from the vein.
However, the effectiveness of intraocular injection therapy is different for each patient.
Generally, at least 3 injections are given one month apart when the first diagnosis is made. Afterwards, the patient is followed up at monthly intervals.
If the level of vision constantly increases as a result of injections, the injection is continued.
If the increase in vision has stopped, follow-up is started. And if the vision has started to decrease in these follow-ups, a re-injection is made.
These injections do not completely eliminate the disease. However, it can increase a person’s vision level.
Intraocular Needle Therapy:
It is made by anesthetizing with drops. The patient does not feel any pain during this application.
In Photodynamic Therapy:
First, a drug with a special composition is injected into the vein and a low-intensity laser is applied.
Intraocular Lens Application:
In patients with cataracts and suitable eyes, the lens (yellow spot lens or macrovision) magnifies the image and creates a telescopic effect, directing the focus of the image outside the diseased yellow spot.
Eye Drop Examination:
The patient is left for half an hour by dripping a special drop into the cornea layer, which forms the front of the eye. When the pupil becomes wide enough with the drop effect, the doctor can see and examine the entire retinal layer in detail. Retinal degeneration, i.e. yellow spot disease, is diagnosed only with eye drops with eye drops.
Fundamental ocular examination reveals whether there is a problem in the retina and if there is a problem, at what stage it is, and provides a chance for early intervention for vision loss that may occur.
Do not forget to have a (detailed) eye examination once a year for the treatment with a high success rate in macular degeneration with early diagnosis.
Amsler Grid Test in Yellow Spot Disease:
This test is not the equivalent of a routine eye exam. But it is a scheme that will allow you to detect the early signs of macular degeneration by applying it yourself. Experts recommend that everyone over the age of 40 apply this test.
How is Amsler Grid Test Performed?
The yellow spot disease test is called the Amsler Grid test.
This test is applied as follows:
- Before looking at the image, if a lens is used, if a lens is used, glasses are worn.
- A space of 30 cm is left between the image and the image.
- First, one eye is closed.
- Focus on the central point with one eye closed.
- When the point is focused, it is checked whether all four corners can be seen.
- You should not look too long.
- How the lines appear while the eye is focused on the center is checked.
- This situation is repeated for the other eye.
- All lines should appear straight and squares of equal size.
- If the squares do not look even and straight, if they appear blurry, an ophthalmologist should be consulted.
- It can improve visual acuity.
- May improve contrast sensitivity.
- Can reduce central drusen volume.
Valeda Light Transmission System:
It is a method applied for Dry Type Age-Related Macular Degeneration using photobiomodulation. Treatments are administered in a series of 9 sessions per eye over a three week period. Each treatment session takes less than 5 minutes per eye.
What are The Personal Precautions That Can Be Taken Against Yellow Spot Disease (Age-Related Macular Degeneration)?
It is not possible to change the age or family history, which are among the risk factors for macular degeneration (macular degeneration). But lifestyle changes can be beneficial in protecting our eyes against macular degeneration.
Personal precautions that can be taken against yellow spot disease can be listed as follows:
- Quitting smoking.
- Reaching and maintaining ideal body weight.
- Keeping blood pressure at normal levels.
- Using glasses that filter UV and blue light.
- Wearing a visor hat, especially in summer, to protect from direct sunlight.
- To have periodic eye examinations.
- Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Reducing saturated fats in the diet.
- Exercising regularly.
Yellow Spot Disease (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) Frequently Asked Questions
Is Yellow Spot Disease Genetic?
Genetic factors play an important role in the formation of macular degeneration.
When the patient’s history is listened to, familial predisposition comes to the fore.
In fact, according to studies, more specific treatment options are planned for the treatment of patients based on genetic reasons.
Does Yellow Spot Disease Cause Blindness?
Unfortunately, this disease can cause serious vision loss. It creates vision problems depending on the type, stage of the disease and the area it affects in the macula. In the 4th stage of the dry type and the wet type, central vision is almost completely lost. Patients see only a small amount from the side. Fortunately, for many patients, it still provides a vision that can do their daily work.
Is Yellow Spot Disease Completely Gone?
The progression of macular degeneration can be slowed, but not completely cured. With the use of vitamins, the progression of the disease can be stopped.
Are There Glasses for Yellow Spot Disease?
For yellow spot disease, there are protective special filter glasses in yellow-brown colors. It protects the patient from the harmful rays of the sun.