Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over age 65. Patients with AMD suffer the breakdown of the central part of the retina, called the macula. When you look directly at something, you are using the macula. It is responsible for allowing fine, detailed central vision for things like reading and driving.
AMD may be hardly noticeable in its early stages, but as it progresses will cause blurriness and visual distortion when not functioning properly. Symptoms include words on a page looking blurred, dark or empty areas appearing in your central vision, and straight lines looking distorted or wavy.
Types of Macular Degeneration
- Dry (or atrophic) AMD, which accounts for 90% of cases. Dry AMD is characterized by thinning of the retinal tissues of the macula, leading to very gradual vision loss.
- Wet (or exudative) AMD, is the more severe form characterized by new, fragile blood vessels forming underneath the retina. These new vessels tend to leak blood and fluid, dramatically blurring central vision. Vision loss may be rapid and severe.
What Can I Do About Macular Degeneration?
As with most conditions, prevention is the best medicine. Giving up smoking has been shown to be beneficial for AMD patients. Recent studies have also demonstrated a protective effect of certain nutritional supplements. If you think you have AMD or would like to be evaluated, schedule a consultation with one of our ophthalmologists or optometrists using our online form or by calling one of our offices in Hagerstown, Chambersburg, or Waynesboro.