New Study Reveals Connection Between Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Underlying Heart Damage
According to a recent study from the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, patients with a particular type of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a major cause of blindness, are also very likely to have underlying heart damage. Heart failure, heart attacks, advanced valve disease and/or carotid artery diseases are all potential issues linked to those with a specific form of AMD – subretinal drusenoid deposits (SDDs).
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a chronic and painless disease of the macula. A region known as the macula lies at the centre of the retina, at the back of the eye.
It occurs when the macula, the area of the eye that regulates precise, straight-ahead vision, suffers damage with age. Central vision gradually declines; however, the peripheral vision remains unaffected. The inability to see faces well and read or watch TV are all impacted by this loss of central vision. However, AMD alone does not cause complete blindness (black blindness).
Some persons with AMD experience very slow progression and no visual impairment. Others may see a quicker progression of AMD, which might impair vision in one or both eyes.
In Australia, it is the most prevalent macular condition. Half of all blindness and severe vision loss in this nation are caused by AMD.
Read more about risk factors, symptoms and diagnosing AMD.
SDDs and drusen are the two primary forms of deposits found in the retinas of persons with age-related macular degeneration.
Small, yellow cholesterol deposits known as drusen, which develop behind the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), are one of the main symptoms of early AMD. They may rob the retina of blood and oxygen, which might result in blindness. The production of drusen can be slowed down with the right vitamin intake.
Subretinal drusenoid deposits (SDDs), the other primary type of early AMD, are less well known and must be found with sophisticated retinal imaging. These deposits, which accumulate above the RPE and immediately below the light-sensitive retinal cells, are made up of a distinct type of cholesterol and where the damage and loss of vision occur. SDDs have no recognised treatments.
Are you at Risk?
Mount Sinai doctors and researchers discovered that SDDs were more prevalent in individuals with cardiovascular illness or stroke. The results of the ground-breaking study were published in BMJ Open Ophthalmology.
By examining a broader patient group and building on the earlier research, this current study pinpoints the exact severe types of carotid artery disease and heart disease resulting in AMD’s SDDs.
Existing or underlying heart damage can directly reduce the blood supply to the eye, either through heart injury, which reduces blood flow throughout the body or by a blocked carotid artery, which obstructs blood flow to the eye.
Harm from an inadequate blood supply can occur to any region of the body, and in these particular disorders, the SDDs and ruined retina constitute the damage.
Dr Smith’s researchers concluded that AMD patients were nine times more likely to suffer SDDs than individuals without these serious cardiovascular illnesses and strokes.
Co-investigator Chief of the Retina Service for the Mount Sinai Health System, Richard B. Rosen, MD stated “this work demonstrates the fact that ophthalmologists may be the first physicians to detect systemic disease, especially in asymptomatic patients.”
Follow this link if you’d like to read more about Macular Degeneration and book an appointment with the Best Practice Eyecare team.
Where Best Practice Eyecare comes in…
At Best Practice Eyecare, our ophthalmologist Sunshine Coast team is led by Dr Karpa, a Fellow of RANZCO, a comprehensive Ophthalmologist and expert in Ophthalmology Sunshine Coast. Whatever the diagnosis, the team at Best Practice Eyecare can help you identify the best treatment option for your case, understand your condition, help you manage it and stop the progression of the disease.
Based in the beautiful coastal suburb of Golden Beach, Dr Karpa and this expert team provide eye care services of the highest standard with a relaxed, friendly patient-focused approach. We service patients across all areas of the Sunshine Coast including Caloundra, Kawana, Mooloolaba, and Maroochydore. As a leading cataract surgeon, eye specialist and ophthalmologist Sunshine Coast, Dr Karpa treats a wide range of eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, dry eyes, and flashes & floaters.