Age-Related Macular Degeneration

stock1Often referred to as AMD or ARMD, this disease is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss in individuals over the age of 60. It is estimated that nearly 1.8 million Americans suffer from this disease, and another 7 million are at a very high risk of developing vision loss secondary to this disease process. More than 200,000 newly diagnosed cases of AMD are made per year.

Macular Degeneration is a chronic, progressive deterioration of the light-sensitive cells in the central region of the retina known as the macula. The macula is the area responsible for your finest “20/20” vision. A healthy macula is required to complete even simple activities like recognizing faces, reading, threading a needle, and driving a car.

There are two types of macular degeneration: a wet and a dry form. About 90% of the cases are a dry form, in which the macula tissue undergoes changes and loses its ability to function properly. While there is no cure at this stage, evidence shows that with nutritional supplementation, a healthy diet rich in green leafy vegetables, and proper protection from sunlight, the risk of progressive vision loss may be reduced or at least delayed. About 10% of those with the dry form of AMD will develop into the Wet or Exudative form of Macular Degeneration. This occurs when there is growth of new blood vessels that leak and generally cause a more severe and rapid decrease in vision. This form requires treatment immediately, and multiple treatment options exist. The goal of the treatment is not to restore the vision, but to preserve what remaining vision is left.

Symptoms related to Macular Degeneration:

  • Loss of ability to see objects clearly
  • Objects appear distorted
  • Loss in the ability to distinguish colors
  • Straight lines appear broken, wavy, or may be missing parts
  • Dark area or empty space appearing in the center of your vision

Ask one of our doctors how you can protect yourself from the harmful effects of macular degeneration. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, have a family history of macular degeneration, or have previously been diagnosed with macular degeneration, make an appointment today for a full evaluation.