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  • Krish Jagwani

The Effects Of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Our senses manifest our environment and define our personalities. Arguably the most useful of all is sight, 80% of everything we understand from our surroundings is through these peepers of ours.

What if we were to lose them, not being completely blind, but, partially, between the realms of light and colourful reality and an unforgiving void, blotching over your image of the world. Such a condition of a blotchy vision does exist in the form of Age-related Macular Degeneration, AMD.

My Grandpa is a well educated retired government worker, an ever active independent, and enthusiastic man of unbeatable mobility and adaptability, who now can’t sign cheques, read his newspaper(which is mandatory in his routine) and can’t see further than 100 centimetres. Such a charismatic personality being crippled by AMD has more than physical impacts. After countless experiences like two brain tumors(acoustic-vestibular schwannoma) surgeries, shunt operations, leaving him with hearing loss in one ear, the man is frustrated by his condition. He has been visiting the doctor almost every month for 10 years and sometimes gets Avastin shots, which cost ₹10,000 each, a high price for a middle class person. A high maintenance, physically and mentally crippling disease that has no cure, leaving the patient dependent on their peripheral vision only.

Macular Degeneration is a disease that can be genetic and can only be prolonged in its growth, slowly taking away the regular lifestyle of a patient. Most of the time, it does not lead to complete blindness though. It has two primary variants. Dry AMD, the more common of the two, occurs gradually over time, where Wet AMD, shows up as a sudden vision distortion. Avastin is one of the injections that can be used to prolong vision deterioration, which occurs by leaking of the abnormal blood vessels that grow over the macula, that can cause extreme vision distortion. Photodynamic and laser therapy can also be used to do so, by destroying these vessels. Using the shots and laser therapy has a side effect, a scar is left in the macula, which causes blotches in the patient's field of vision.

The expensive procedures associated with AMD surely take a toll on people financially. They blow away their funds knowing that they can only stall the vision snatching disease. Rooting for science to find a cure so that these patients can finally look at a ray of hope.

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