Also called: Age-related macular degeneration, AMD
Macular degeneration, often called AMD or ARMD (age-related macular degeneration), is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in aged 65 and older. Because older people represent an increasingly larger percentage of the general population, vision loss associated with AMD is a growing problem.
AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. It does not hurt, but it causes cells in the macula to die. In some cases, AMD advances so slowly that people notice little change in their vision. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in both eyes. Regular comprehensive eye exams can detect macular degeneration before the disease causes vision loss. Treatment can slow vision loss. It does not restore vision.
WET & DRY MACULAR DEGENERATION
Dry macular degeneration:
Dry AMD occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As dry AMD gets worse, you may see a blurred spot in the center of your vision. Over time, as less of the macula functions, central vision is gradually lost in the affected eye.
Wet macular degeneration
Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the macula. These new blood vessels tend to be very fragile and often leak blood and fluid. The blood and fluid raise the macula from its normal place at the back of the eye. Damage to the macula occurs rapidly.
MACULAR DEGENERATION SYMPTOMS & SIGNS
Macular degeneration usually develops gradually and painlessly. The signs and symptoms of the disease may vary, depending on which of the two types of macular degeneration you have: dry or wet.
With dry macular degeneration you may notice the following symptoms
The need for increasingly bright illumination when reading or doing close work.
Increasing difficulty adapting to low levels. of illumination, such as when entering a dimly lit restaurant.
Increasing blurriness of printed words.
A decrease in the intensity or brightness of colors.
Difficulty recognizing faces.
Gradual increase in the haziness of your overall vision.
Blurred or blind spot in the center of your visual field combined with a profound drop in your central vision acuity.
With wet macular degeneration, the following symptoms may appear, and they may progress rapidly
Visual distortions, such as straight lines appearing wavy or crooked, a doorway or street sign that seems out of whack, or objects appearing smaller or farther away than they should
A decrease in or loss of central vision
Central blurry spot
MACULAR DEGENERATION CAUSES
Many forms of macular degeneration may be linked to aging and related deterioration of eye tissue crucial for good vision. Duke University and other researchers have noted a strong association between development of the eye disease and presence of a variant of a gene known as complement factor H (CFH). This gene deficiency has been found to be associated with almost half of all potentially blinding cases of macular degeneration.
Besides affecting older populations, AMD appears to occur in whites and females in particular. The disease also can result as a side effect of some drugs, and it appears to run in families. New evidence strongly suggests that smoking is high on the list of risk factors for macular degeneration.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Obesity and Inactivity
Lighter Eye Color
Drug Side Effects