Macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 and older. It is a disease that destroys your sharp, central vision. Your central vision allows you to see objects clearly and to do tasks such as reading and driving.
AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that provides you with your central vision and allows you to see fine detail. The degenerative changes that occur within the macula secondary to AMD do not hurt. These changes can occur slowly over many years or rapidly over days. There are two types: wet and dry. AMD is classified as “Wet” when abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the macula. These new blood vessels often leak blood and fluid. Wet AMD damages the macula quickly. Blurred vision is a common early symptom. To the contrary “Dry” AMD occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula break down slowly over time. With Dry AMD you gradually lose your central vision. A common early symptom is that straight lines may appear crooked.
Regular comprehensive eye exams which include dilation are helpful to detect macular degeneration before the disease can causes vision loss. Treatment of this disease has been proven to slow down vision loss. Early treatment for Dry AMD focuses on eye vitamins to prevent further changes in the macula. Treatment for Wet AMD relies on laser and medicinal treatment to stop irregular blood vessel leakage and bleeding.