Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects more than 10 million Americans. It is a chronic disease which attacks the central part of the retina, known as the macula. The macula is how we are able to focus our central vision. It controls our ability to read, recognize colors, and see faces or objects in fine detail.
In its earliest stages, AMD does not impact vision. However, as it progresses, people will often begin to experience blurred vision. It is also the leading cause of blindness.
There are two types of AMD: dry and wet. Eyes with dry AMD have changes in the macular pigment that can be seen during a dilated eye exam. Wet AMD is caused by abnormal leaky blood vessels that grow underneath the retina.
Risk factors for developing macular degeneration include:
- Race (more common in Caucasians)
There are medications available that can reverse and prevent vision loss from wet AMD. There are also preventative strategies that are effective in slowing the progression of dry AMD. Your doctor will diagnose which kind of AMD you have and recommend the treatments right for you.