Macular Degeneration

Also called: AMD, Age-related macular degeneration

Macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 and older. It is a disease that destroys your sharp, central vision. You need central vision to see objects clearly and to do tasks such as reading and driving.

AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. It does not hurt, but it causes cells in the macula to die. There are two types: wet and dry. Wet AMD happens when abnormal blood vessels grow under the macula. These new blood vessels often leak blood and fluid. Wet AMD damages the macula quickly. Blurred vision is a common early symptom. Dry AMD happens when the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down. Your gradually lose your central vision. A common early symptom is that straight lines appear crooked.

Regular comprehensive eye exams can detect macular degeneration before the disease causes vision loss. Treatment can slow vision loss. It does not restore vision.

NIH: National Eye Institute

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

The following features are indicative of Macular Degeneration:
  • visual distortions
  • reduced central vision in one or both eyes
  • decreased intensity or brightness of colors
  • blind spot or blurry spot in the field of vision
  • general haziness in the overall vision
  • need for brighter light when reading or doing close work
  • increased difficulty adapting to low lights
  • increased blurriness of printed words

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Common Causes of Macular Degeneration

The following are the most common causes of Macular Degeneration:
  • abnormal blood vessel growth
  • fluid buildup in the back of the eye

Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Macular Degeneration:
  • older than age 50
  • family history
  • smoking
  • obesity
  • cardiovascular disease
  • white people

Prevention of Macular Degeneration

No, it is not possible to prevent Macular Degeneration.
  • genetic factors

Occurrence of Macular Degeneration

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Macular Degeneration cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Macular Degeneration most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Macular Degeneration can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Macular Degeneration

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Macular Degeneration:
  • Examination of the back of the eye: To diagnose blood or fluid or a mottled appearance
  • Test for defects in the center of the vision: To diagnose defects in the central vision
  • Fluorescein angiography: To check abnormal blood vessels or retinal changes
  • Indocyanine green angiography: To diagnose specific types of macular degeneration
  • Optical coherence tomography: To see detailed cross-sections of the retina

Doctor for Diagnosis of Macular Degeneration

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Macular Degeneration:
  • Optometrist
  • Ophthalmologist

Complications of Macular Degeneration if untreated

Yes, Macular Degeneration causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Macular Degeneration is left untreated:
  • rapid vision loss

Procedures for Treatment of Macular Degeneration

The following procedures are used to treat Macular Degeneration:
  • Photodynamic therapy: To treat abnormal blood vessels at the center of macula
  • Surgery: To implant a telescopic lens in one eye

Self-care for Macular Degeneration

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Macular Degeneration:
  • Regular exercise: Regularly do exercise and maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit Smoking: Do not smoke

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Macular Degeneration

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Macular Degeneration:
  • Consume nutritional supplements: Take supplements with high levels of vitamins C and E, copper and zinc

Patient Support for Treatment of Macular Degeneration

The following actions may help Macular Degeneration patients:
  • Support groups: Join online support groups to reduce symptoms and know about the experiences of others with similar conditions

Time for Treatment of Macular Degeneration

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Macular Degeneration to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Macular Degeneration.
Eye Diseases
Vision Impairment and Blindness

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