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- Patient Comments: Macular Degeneration - Signs and Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Macular Degeneration - Age
- Patient Comments: Macular Degeneration - Risk Factors
- Patient Comments: Macular Degeneration - Treatment for Wet Macular Degeneration
- Find a local Eye Doctor in your town
- Macular degeneration facts
- What is macular degeneration?
- What is the retina?
- What is the macula?
- What is age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?
- What is wet age-related macular degeneration?
- What are retinal drusen?
- What is dry age-related macular degeneration?
- What causes macular degeneration?
- What are risk factors for macular degeneration?
- What are macular degeneration symptoms?
- What are signs of macular degeneration?
- What type of specialist treats macular degeneration?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose macular degeneration?
- What is the treatment for wet macular degeneration?
- What is the treatment for dry macular degeneration?
- What are complications of macular degeneration?
- What is the prognosis for macular degeneration?
- Is it possible to prevent macular degeneration?
- What research is being done on macular degeneration?
Quick GuideCommon Eye Problems and Infections
What is macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a common, painless eye condition in which the central portion of the retina deteriorates and does not function adequately.
What is the retina?
The retina is the light sensitive tissue located in the back of the eye. It is like the film in a camera, recording the images we see and sending them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. The retina almost instantly converts light images into electrical impulses through a chemical reaction. The retina then sends these impulses or signal, to the brain, where we interpret what we see, process the visual information, and relate what we see to the rest of our environment.
What is the macula?
The macula is a small portion of the retina located in the central portion of the retina. The macula is responsible for central vision (straight-ahead vision) and provides the ability to see fine detail in your direct line of sight. We use the macula of each eye to have the clear vision that allows us to read, drive a car, and recognize faces or colors. The non-macular areas of the retina provide us with our side vision and best night vision.
What is age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?
Although there are many types of macular degeneration, age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD) is by far the most common type. AMD is a disease associated with aging that gradually destroys sharp central vision that is needed for seeing objects clearly and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving. In some cases, AMD advances so slowly that people notice little change in their vision. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in one or both eyes. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years of age and older. AMD usually affects both eyes, although the clinical appearance and degree of visual loss may vary a great deal between the two eyes.
AMD occurs in two forms. "Wet" age-related macular degeneration is less common but more aggressive in its progression to severe central vision loss. "Dry" age-related macular degeneration is the more common type and is more slowly progressive in causing visual loss.
AMD may be classified as to its severity using terms such as mild, moderate, or severe. These terms are subjective and not based on specific characteristics.