Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in people 50 years or older. In recognition of AMD Awareness Month, we’ve compiled important information to know about this disease.
AMD is a common eye disease that causes damage to the macula, the center of the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye. Often this results in blurred or distorted central vision. In severe cases, a blind spot may form in the middle of the field of vision that increases as the disease progresses.
The disease occurs in two main forms:
- Occurs when parts of the macula become thinner with age, causing tiny clumps of protein (drusen) to develop
- Can cause gradual loss of central vision
- Approximately 80% of those diagnosed with AMD have this form
- Caused by abnormal blood vessels growing under the retina that can leak blood or fluids and eventually cause scarring of the macula
- Vision loss progresses at a faster rate compared to dry AMD
- Less common but more serious than dry AMD
Although symptoms do vary, most people with dry AMD will first experience blurred vision and difficulty reading or distinguishing faces. However, some don’t notice any vision loss because their healthy eye compensates so well.
Wet AMD progresses rapidly. Early symptoms may include seeing distorted shapes and faded colors. This could progress into a blind spot at the center of visual field.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Routine, comprehensive eye exams can often detect signs of AMD before sight is impacted.
Currently, there are no treatments for dry AMD but those diagnosed should have regular monitoring. Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drugs are used to treat wet AMD.