Macular Degeneration

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Macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD) is an age-related condition that leads to vision loss. It doesn’t cause blindness. Along with glaucoma, AMD is one of the leading causes of vision loss in Americans age 65 and older.

Types of Macular Degeneration

  • Dry Macular Degeneration
    Dry macular degeneration is the more common form of AMD that causes the center of the retina (macula) to deteriorate, resulting in blurred vision. The macula controls central vision, enabling you to see details clearly. Dry macular degeneration typically affects both eyes and occurs as part of the normal aging process. The macular tissue begins to thin, thus distorting your vision. This condition progresses gradually.

  • Wet Macular Degeneration
    Wet Macular Degeneration is not as common as dry AMD, but it is more damaging and can lead to more serious vision loss. Wet macular degeneration occurs when new abnormal blood vessels begin to grow under the retina and leak fluid and blood into the macula, which can cause permanent damage and loss of central vision. This type of macular degeneration can progress faster.

Symptoms and Risk Factors

If you begin to have difficulty reading in low lighted areas, notice an increase in blurriness of words, recognize an apparent blind spot in the center of your field of vision or begin to notice a decrease in the brightness of colors, you may have macular degeneration.

The exact cause of macular degeneration is still unknown, but aging, genetics, smoking, and cardiovascular disease are contributing factors of this condition.

Treatment Options

There is no cure for macular degeneration, but if you’re diagnosed early, there are treatments available. Treatments vary depending on the type and severity of macular degeneration. Certain vitamin supplements can help slow down the progression of dry macular degeneration to wet macular degeneration

Treatment options for wet macular degeneration include medications, such as Avastin and Lucentis, which help reduce the growth of abnormal blood vessels. Laser therapy and photodynamic therapy can also be used to treat this condition.