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Age-Related Macular Degeneration

When we think of eye conditions that affect our vision, many of us have heard about glaucoma or cataracts. Very few people, however, are familiar with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – a leading cause of vision loss in people over age 60. Because scientists have not yet found a cure for the disease, it is important that you learn as much as possible about AMD and how to protect your eyesight.


What is AMD and how does it affect my vision?

AMD is a serious disease that may result in loss of central vision. The exact cause is not known. It occurs when there is damage to the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. AMD does not affect peripheral, or side vision. Although people rarely go totally blind from the disease, AMD can make it difficult to read, write, drive or perform other normal daily tasks.

Dry vs Wet AMD

There are two kinds of AMD: “dry” and “wet”. Dry AMD affects about 90 percent of patients with AMD. It usually develops slowly, so people may not notice any change in their vision right away. Both eyes may or may not be affected. A common early sign of dry AMD is the formation of yellow deposits, called drusen, under the macula.

How does Wet AMD Develop?

Dry AMD can sometimes turn into wet AMD. Wet AMD affects only 10 percent of AMD patients, but it is responsible for 90 percent of all severe vision loss from the disease. Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels develop and leak blood and fluid under the macula, causing damage that leads to rapid loss of central vision.

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