Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a problem with the retina in the eye. It occurs when the central retina, called the macula, is damaged. With AMD, patients lose their central vision, but the peripheral, or side vision, is not affected.
AMD is very common and is actually the leading cause of vision loss in people 50 years or older.
There are two types of AMD:
This form is quite common. About 80% of people with AMD have the dry form. Dry AMD occurs when parts of the central retina (macula) get thinner with age and tiny clumps of protein called drusen grow. These patients experience a slow decline in central vision. Unfortunately, there is no way to reverse the damage of AMD, but there are ways to slow its progression if detected early enough.
This form is less common, but much more serious. Wet AMD occurs when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels may leak blood and other fluids causing scarring of the central retina (macula). People lose vision faster with wet AMD than with dry AMD.
Many people don’t realize they have AMD until their vision is very blurry. This is why it is important to have regular visits to an ophthalmologist. He or she can look for early signs of AMD before you have any vision problems.