Aged-Related Macular Degeneration

What is aged-related macular degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive eye condition affecting as many as 15 million Americans. It is the number one cause of severe vision loss and legal blindness in adults over 60 in the U.S, and escalates with age. AMD attacks the macula of the eye, destroying the clear, “straight ahead” central vision necessary for reading, driving, identifying faces, watching television, doing fine detailed work, safely navigating stairs, and performing other daily tasks we take for granted. It can make it more difficult to see contrast and can change the way color is seen. Peripheral (side) vision may not be affected, but many AMD patients see only dim images or black holes at the center of their vision.

Once vision is lost due to AMD, treatment cannot restore it. This is why regular eye exams and early detection of AMD are so important.

What are the symptoms of AMD?

  • Words on a page look blurred
  • A dark or empty area appears in the center of vision
  • Straight lines look distorted

What are the two types of AMD?

“Wet” or Neovascular AMD: 10 % of people with AMD have "wet" AMD. Many of these people develop significant vison loss as a result of abnormal blood vessel growth underneath the retina. These new blood vessels leak fluid or blood and blur central vision. Vision loss may be rapid and severe.

“Dry” or Atrophic AMD: 90% of people with AMD have the "dry" form. This condition is caused by cell damage and results in thinning macular tissue. Vision loss is gradual. Many with dry AMD also have difficulty adjusting to changes in light, such as the transition from outdoor light to indoor.

How is AMD treated?

There is currently no cure for macular degeneration, but there are some treatments available to control certain forms of the condition:

  • Nutritional supplements
  • Anti-VEGF injection (stops abnormal blood vessels leaking, growing and bleeding under the retina)
  • Laser surgery

The procedures may save more of your sight overall. However, even with advanced medical treatment, many people with AMD still experience vision loss.

What are some common retinal diseases and conditions?

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical care and should not be used as a substitute for a physician's advice or diagnosis. San Antonio Eye Center is not liable for any outcome or damages resulting from information obtained in this website in either an indirect or direct form.