Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a chronic eye condition that affects the macula, which is a small, specialized area in the central part of the retina at the back of the eye. The macula is responsible for central vision and allows us to see fine details and perceive color. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss among older adults.
There are two main types of macular degeneration:
- Dry AMD (Non-Neovascular AMD): In this more common form, there is a gradual deterioration of the macular cells over time. Small yellow deposits called drusen may accumulate in the macula, and these can lead to the thinning and atrophy of the macular tissue. Dry AMD typically progresses slowly and may cause gradual central vision loss. It is usually less severe than wet AMD.
- Wet AMD (Neovascular AMD): Wet AMD is less common but more aggressive. It involves the growth of abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula. These vessels can leak blood and fluid, causing rapid and severe damage to the macula. This often results in more sudden and pronounced central vision loss.
The exact cause of macular degeneration is not fully understood, but it is primarily associated with aging. Other risk factors for AMD include genetics, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and a family history of the condition.
The symptoms of macular degeneration may include:
- Blurred or distorted central vision
- Dark or empty spots in the central vision
- Difficulty reading, recognizing faces, or performing tasks that require detailed vision
There is no cure for AMD, but there are treatments available, particularly for wet AMD. These treatments may include injections of anti-VEGF drugs to slow the growth of abnormal blood vessels, and in some cases, laser therapy. For dry AMD, certain dietary supplements may be recommended.
Regular eye exams are important for early detection and management of macular degeneration. If you or someone you know is at risk for AMD or experiences changes in central vision, contact our team for a comprehensive eye examination and expert guidance.
Learn more about Macular Degeneration here.