Mercy Eye Center
Macular degeneration (also called age-related macular degeneration or “AMD”) affects the macula, which is in the back of the eye and is necessary to be able to see fine details. People at greater risk for AMD are people with a family history of AMD, smokers, women, people who are obese, and Caucasians. There are two classifications of macular degeneration
- Dry macular degeneration is the early form of the disease. It develops when the macular slowly deteriorates and blurs central vision. It is characterized by a thinning retina and small yellowish-white deposits that form within the retina called “drusen.” Dry AMD occurs in three stages (early, intermediate, and advanced).
- Wet macular degeneration is a serious and often rapid development of the disease. It occurs when blood vessels growing under the macula hemorrhage and cause swelling and retinal damage, including blind spots and distorted central vision. It is more commonly found in people age 50 and older.
Macular degeneration normally develops very slowly and is often pain and symptom-free, however it can have a very sudden onset. It does not cause complete blindness because if affects only the macula which is central in the eye. Patients with severe AMD still have peripheral vision.
To diagnose macular degeneration your eye doctor will perform a visual acuity test, a dilated eye exam, a fluorescein angiogram (to identify potentially leaking blood vessels), use a tonometer to measure the pressure inside your eye and and use an Amsler grid to measure potential changes in your central vision.
Prescribed treatment of AMD depends on the form. Wet AMD can be treated with injections into your numbed eye, photodynamic therapy and laser surgery
. Dry AMD can be treated with prescribed high doses of antioxidants and zinc which may slow the progression to a more serious form of AMD. All forms of treatment can only slow the progression of AMD; they cannot restore lost vision.