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What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration, also known more specifically as Age Related Macular degeneration (ARMD or AMD) is a progressive n eye disease that results in damage to the part of the eye called the macula. Both eyes have a macula the macula is part of the retina. This area is the most sensitive vision processing center in the eye. The function of the retina is to send light to the brain. The function of the macula is to allow very fine and clear vision.

Macular degeneration can occur in either one eye or both eyes.  If it starts in one eye, then there is a greater chance that it develops in the other eye as well.  Since AMD is a progressive eye disorder the condition worsens over time.   Currently, there is no known cure for AMD, however, there are therapies and AMD treatments that can slow the progression of the eye disease.

There are two types of AMD. There is the wet form and the dry form.

The wet form is much more rare and affects roughly 10% to 15% of people suffering from macular degeneration. Persons suffering from wet AMD usually have some distortion of vision and lines might look wavy instead of straight.

Cause of Wet AMD:

Wet AMD is caused by new blood vessels forming under the macula that leak and push the macula out of place.  The leaking blood vessels are what give it the name of the wet form. Some patients with wet AMD may suffer from significant vision loss in a quick time frame.  All of the current medical surgery therapies have been directed at the wet form of AMD

The dry form of AMD is the most prevalent and consists of 85% to 90% of cases.  Dry AMD is caused by a deterioration of the light sensitive cells in the macula. It usually progresses more slowly than the wet form and the most common symptom is slightly blurred vision. If you suffer from dry macular degeneration, then you may have difficulty recognizing faces and often times need additional lighting when reading or performing other routines.  Dry AMD generally affects both eyes, but vision can be lost in one eye while the other eye seems unaffected.

What are Drusen?

One of the most common early signs of dry AMD is drusen. Drusen are yellow deposits under the retina. They often are found in people over age 60. Your eye care professional can detect drusen during a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

Dry AMD has 3 stages:

Early AMD. People with early AMD have either several small drusen or a few medium-sized drusen. At this stage, there are no symptoms and no vision loss.

Intermediate AMD. People with intermediate AMD have either many medium-sized drusen or one or more large drusen. Some people see a blurred spot in the center of their vision. More light may be needed for reading and other tasks.

Advanced Dry AMD. In addition to drusen, people with advanced dry AMD have a breakdown of light-sensitive cells and supporting tissue in the central retinal area. This breakdown can cause a blurred spot in the center of your vision. Over time, the blurred spot may get bigger and darker, taking more of your central vision. You may have difficulty reading or recognizing faces until they are very close to you.

If you have vision loss from dry AMD in one eye only, you may not notice any changes in your overall vision. With the other eye seeing clearly, you still can drive, read, and see fine details. You may notice changes in your vision only if AMD affects both eyes. If blurriness occurs in your vision, see an eye care professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

Normal Vision
The Same Visual With ARMD