What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most frequent cause of vision loss among people 50 years and older in the Western world.
Symptoms of AMD
- Blurry area near center of vision that may increase
- Blank spots in center of vision
- Objects not appearing as bright as they used to
Many older people are unaware that they have AMD and may not notice that their vision is deteriorating, particularly if only one eye is affected. Other people may fail to report vision loss because they believe it to be an inevitable consequence of aging. If patients with certain types of AMD are to benefit from recent developments in treatment, it is important that the condition is diagnosed as early as possible. AMD can be classified as either dry or wet.
Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Dry AMD is characterized by the accumulation of drusen, which are small yellow deposits underneath the retina. Dry AMD often does not cause severe vision loss unless central atrophy develops. It is important to monitor patients with dry AMD because it may progress to wet AMD. The wet form accounts for approximately 90% of severe vision loss in patients with AMD.
Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Wet AMD is characterized by the presence of choroidal neovascularization, which is a term that describes abnormal new blood growth underneath the retina. The main symptoms of wet AMD are deterioration in central vision, blind spots, and distorted vision. Definitive diagnosis and classification of choroidal neovascularization requires fluorescein angiography, ocular coherence tomography, and color fundus photography of the retina. The location of neovascular lesions is an important factor in determining the risk of vision loss. Eyes with subfoveal lesions (those that extend under the center of the retina) are at the greatest risk of vision loss.