Macular Degeneration

  • Medical Author:
    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS

    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What are complications of macular degeneration?

Progression to wet macular degeneration is the main complication of dry age-related macular degeneration. At any time, dry macular degeneration can progress to the more severe form of the disease called wet macular degeneration, which may cause rapid vision loss. There is no accurate way to predict who will eventually develop wet macular degeneration.

Other eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment, or dry eyes are not complications of macular degeneration. Patients with macular degeneration can, however, develop these or other eye diseases and people with these conditions can also develop AMD concurrently.

What is the prognosis for macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration in its advanced form can cause loss of all central vision in both eyes. In the absence of other eye diseases, peripheral vision is maintained. Therefore, patients with advanced macular degeneration are, in most cases, able to see enough to get around in familiar situations.

The use of magnifying devices can often improve vision in macular degeneration to allow for reading or watching of television.

Is it possible to prevent macular degeneration?

Your lifestyle can play a role in reducing your risk of developing AMD. Eating a healthy diet high in green leafy vegetables and fish, not smoking, maintaining blood pressure and weight at normal levels, and engaging in regular moderate exercise can be helpful in prevention of macular degeneration.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/6/2016

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