Eye Diseases and Conditions

Picture of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Picture of AMD

Age-related macular degeneration is an eye disease with its onset usually after age 60 that progressively destroys the macula, the central portion of the retina, impairing central vision. It rarely causes blindness because only the center of vision is affected. There are two types of AMD -- wet and dry -- neither of which causes pain. In wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the macula and leak blood and fluid causing loss of central vision which may occur quickly. Treatment includes laser surgery, photodynamic therapy, and injections into the eye. None of these will cure the disease and loss of vision may still progress. In dry AMD, the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down causing central vision to diminish over time. Early stages of dry AMD can be treated with high-dose formulations of antioxidants and zinc which may delay and possibly prevent AMD from progressing to a more advanced stage. Once in the advanced stage, no form of treatment can restore vision loss.

Reviewed by Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS on September 17, 2009

Image Source: Image reprinted with permission from eMedicine.com, 2009

Text: MedicineNet - Macular Degeneration