Macular degeneration (age-related macular degeneration, AMD), is an eye disorder associated with aging. AMD affects the macula, the central part of the retina that allows the eye to see fine details, and results in loss of sharp and central vision. Central vision is needed for seeing objects clearly and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving.
It is estimated that 1.8 million Americans aged 40 years and older are affected by AMD and an additional 7.3 million
are at substantial risk of developing AMD. The number of people with AMD is estimated to reach 2.95 million in 2020. AMD is the leading cause of permanent impairment of reading and fine or close-up vision among people age 65 years and older.
Early diagnosis is important for better monitoring of disease progression, counselling on possible need for eye vitamins, and smoking cessation. Treatment is required for wet AMD and needs to be done in a timely manner.
UNDERSTANDING THE TWO FORMS OF AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION: WET & DRY
Dry AMD is when the macula thins over time as part of the aging process, gradually blurring central vision. The dry form is more common (70–90% of cases of AMD) and it progresses more slowly than the wet form. Over time, as less of the macula functions, central vision is gradually lost in the affected eye. Dry AMD generally affects both eyes. One of the most common early signs of dry AMD is drusen.
Wet AMD is when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the weakened macula, ultimately leading to blood
and fluid leakage. Bleeding, leaking, and scarring from these blood vessels cause damage and lead to rapid central vision loss.
An early symptom of wet AMD is that straight lines appear wavy.