Age-related macular degeneration: care of the patient in the community setting
The aim of this article is to explain age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and how it impacts on the wellbeing of patients in the community setting. It explores the anatomy and physiology associated with AMD, its symptoms and treatment, and goes on to discuss related nursing care.
Many eye diseases are likely to affect the visual pathway and in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) this involves the neurosensory retina. AMD is a degenerative eye disease that causes loss of central vision. There are two main types of AMD—wet and dry. AMD causes painless loss of vision and predominantly affects older people, although other age groups may develop macular degeneration (MD). Visual impairment can have negative consequences on a person's health and wellbeing. Ageing and the ageing population are inevitably linked to age-related eye disorders and the likelihood of visual impairment (WHO, 2023). Current data estimates that visual impairment affects 2.2 billion people across the world (WHO, 2019), and AMD is one of the leading global causes of visual impairment (Burton et al, 2021).
The literature provides consensus on the structure and function of the anatomy and physiology related to AMD (Batterbury and Murphy, 2018; Kanski, 2019). The relationship between the normal anatomy of the eye and pathological changes that occur in some diseases such as AMD, has inevitable consequences on vision. The physiological function of the eye is to convert light from images into electrical impulses, which are then interpreted by the brain as vision. The retina—the inner transparent layer of the eye—is a neurosensory layer. Photoreceptors present in the retina, specifically on the macular, known as rods and cones, are essential in this process. The macula is an area on the retina that facilitates central vision. The fovea, located at the centre of the macula—this is the part of the eye. Its adjective is macular eg macular degeneration. This author confuses the two oftenr, is responsible for detailed vision. Macular rods and cones are more concentrated on the macular responsible for colour and acute central vision. Rods are also present throughout the retina, mostly in the peripheral retina and aid perception of movement and facilitate vision in low light conditions.
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