Macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), affects a small area in the center of your retina called the macula. AMD can occur in one or both eyes, where it may progress slowly or quickly.
Since the macula is responsible for sharp vision and the ability to see objects in front of you, its progressive deterioration affects your ability to see details. Over time, AMD interferes with daily activities like reading and driving.
The Two Types of Macular Degeneration
Dry Macular Degeneration
Cells in the macula gradually break down due to age-related thinning. Since these cells send visual information to the brain, vision loss develops. Dry macular degeneration is the most common form of AMD.
Wet Macular Degeneration
Develops when abnormal blood vessels grow underneath your retina. The macula becomes swollen and damaged as the vessels leak fluid and blood. The damage may be rapid and severe, causing permanent vision loss.
Macular Degeneration Symptoms
Dry and wet macular degeneration cause symptoms such as:
Distorted vision (straight lines appear bent)
Reduced central vision (dark area in the center of your vision)
Decreased brightness of colors
Loss of clear color vision
Need for brighter light when doing close work
Difficulty adapting to low light levels
Difficulty recognizing faces
Treatment of Macular Degeneration
Your treatment depends on the stage and type of macular degeneration. There currently aren’t treatments available for the dry form. Taking specific antioxidant vitamins and minerals may help slow its progression. Your doctor may consider several treatments for wet macular degeneration: