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What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?

Updated: Mar 19

As you age you will begin to notice a lot of your body doesn’t seem to work the same. This isn’t limited to just your bones. Age plays a big role in your day to day vision. One of the leading causes of blindness among Americans over 50 are diagnosed with Macular Degeneration, better known as AMD.

Age-related macular degeneration is a progressive loss of central vision

This diagnosis is something that can cause blurry vision when doing tasks like reading or driving. The term “age-related” means that it is more common in people 50 and over. Although it does cause difficulty seeing, AMD does not cause complete blindness. Day-to-day activities will be more strenuous on the eyes due to the blurriness of your central vision.

The macula is the primary part of t

he eye that is affected by AMD. It sits at the back of your eye and is made up of millions of light-sensing cells. When it gets injured or begins to deteriorate, you are at risk of losing your central vision.

Two forms of age-related macular degeneration

AMD is divided into two general categories, dry AMD (DAMD) and wet AMD (WAMD):

Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration (DAMD)

Approximately 90 percent of people diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration have DAMD. This occurs due to an increase in size and number of small yellow deposits called drusen form under the retina. Eventually the increased amount of drusen will break down the light-sensitive cells in the macula.

Many people with DAMD experience no symptoms or vision loss. The only way to detect DAMD is through a dilated eye exam.

Some symptoms of DAMD are as follows:

  • Needing more light when reading

  • Trouble recognizing faces

  • Blurriness of printed words

  • Trouble adjusting to dim lighting

Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (WAMD)

In some cases DAMD can progress. This happens when abnormal blood vessels begin growing under or near the retina (toward the macula), which may leak blood and fluid. This is then diagnosed as wet age-related macular degeneration. WAMD typically causes a fast-pace and more severe loss of vision and can be treated with intravitreal injections of medication.

While there is no known cure, there are techniques and tools available to treat and maintain the disease. Some are as follows:

  • Intravitreal injections

  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT)

  • A combination of these treatments

If you’re in need of age-related macular degeneration diagnosis or treatment for other eye conditions, feel free to call Retina Health Institute, located in Rockford and Algonquin, Illinois.

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