Age-related Macular Degeneration
What is it?
As the name implies, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs when
the macula degenerates with increasing age. The macula is located in the
center of the retina and provides information
for fine, detailed vision when you look straight ahead. Damage to the
macula results in problems with central vision.
The exact cause of AMD is not known. For some reason, the macula fails
to receive the nutrients it needs to survive and it degenerates.
|AMD may cause:
- Problems reading books
- Washed out colors
- Blindspots in the central visual field
Image modified from National Eye Institute, National Institutes of
- Gender: women may be at greater risk than men.
- Smoking: smoking may increase the risk of AMD.
- Family History: AMD may run in families.
- Cholesterol: people with high levels of blood cholesterol may be at
higher risk for AMD.
- Eye examination: an eye doctor will look for problems with
- Fluorescein angiography: an intravenous dye is injected into
a patient. Photographs are taken as the dye passes through retinal blood
- Photocoagulation: a laser is used to destroy abnormal blood vessels
that develop in the macula.
|Did you know? ||
There are two types of AMD:|
Dry AMD: the most common type of AMD; affects about 90 percent of
those with the disease. Dry AMD results in a slow loss of retinal cells
in the macula. Therefore, central vision is lost slowly.
Wet AMD: the less common, but more serious form of the disease
because it results in severe vision loss. Wet AMD results when new blood
vessels grow behind the retina near the macula. These new blood vessels
are weak and may leak blood under the macula.