Age-related Macular Degeneration
The health of the macula determines our ability to read, recognize faces, drive, watch television, use a computer or phone, and perform any other visual task that requires us to see fine detail.
Macular degeneration is classified as either dry AMD or wet AMD.
Dry AMD: Dry macular degeneration is an early stage of the disease. It appears to be caused by aging and thinning of macular tissues, depositing of pigment in the macula, or a combination of the two processes.
Dry AMD is diagnosed when yellowish spots known as drusen begin to accumulate in and around the macula. It is believed these spots are deposits or debris from deteriorating tissue.
Gradual central vision loss may occur with dry macular degeneration; but usually the visual impairment is not as severe as that caused by wet AMD. However, visual impairment from dry AMD can continue to progress year after year, eventually leading to significant vision loss.
Wet AMD: In wet macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid. This leakage causes permanent damage to light-sensitive retinal cells (photoreceptors) in the macula and creates a central blind spot (scotoma) in the affected person’s visual field.
Choroidal neovascularization (CNV), the underlying process causing wet AMD and abnormal blood vessel growth, is the body's misguided way of attempting to create a new network of blood vessels to supply more nutrients and oxygen to the eye's retina. Instead, the process creates scarring, leading to sometimes severe central vision loss.
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Journal of Eye Diseases and Disorders