Adult Macular Degeneration
The retina is the tissue that lines the back of the eye. It sends visual signals to the brain. The macula is part of the retina. It is responsible for central vision. Macular degeneration is destruction of the macula. It causes a gradual loss of sharp, central vision. The condition is mainly a disease of aging. In rare cases, it can occur in younger people. There are two types of adult (or age-related) macular degeneration (AMD):
The cause of AMD is not known.
The retina is the tissue that lines the back of the eye. It sends visual signals to the brain. The macula is part of the retina. It is responsible for central vision. Macular degeneration is destruction of the macula. It causes a gradual loss of sharp, central vision. The condition is mainly a disease of aging. In rare cases, it can occur in younger people.
Macular Degeneration Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
There are two types of adult (or age-related) macular degeneration (AMD):
- Dry AMD—This occurs when an area of the retina becomes diseased. This leads to a slow breakdown of cells in the macula. The central vision is gradually lost. Dry AMD accounts for the majority of cases.
- Wet AMD—As dry AMD worsens, new blood vessels may begin to grow. These new blood vessels often leak blood and fluid under the macula. This can lead to permanent damage of the macular region. Wet AMD is uncommon. But, it accounts for the majority of blindness from this disease.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A
will be done. The doctor may suspect AMD if you are older and have had recent changes in your central vision. A specialist will look for signs of the disease. The doctor will use eye drops to dilate (enlarge) your pupils. This will allow a view of the back of the eye.
You may also be asked to view an Amsler grid. This is a pattern that looks like a checkerboard. Changes in your central vision will cause the grid to appear distorted. This is a sign of AMD.
There are no current guidelines to prevent AMD.
For overall eye health:
- Have regular eye exams. The exams should include dilation to closely look at the retina.
If you smoke, talk with your doctor about how you can
- Eat a healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.
omega-3 fatty acid
Generally risk increases with age. AMD is most commonly seen in women, in people who are Caucasian, and in senior citizens. Other factors that may increase your chance of getting AMD include:
- Family members with AMD
- Heavy alcohol use
- Excessive exposure to sunlight
Cardiovascular risks, such as
high blood pressure
In some people, AMD advances very slowly. It has little effect on their vision. In others, the disease progresses faster. It may lead to significant vision loss. Neither dry AMD nor wet AMD causes pain.
Symptoms may include:
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty seeing details in front of you, such as faces or words in a book
- Blurred vision that goes away in brighter light
- A small, but growing blind spot in the middle of your field of vision
- Straight lines (such as door frames) appear crooked or distorted
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment options for you. Options may include: