What is Macular Degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive disease of the retina that causes blurring of your central vision. The blurring happens because of damage to the macula, a small area at the back of the eye. The macula helps you see fine details. Macular degeneration makes it harder to do every day tasks that require sharp central vision, like reading, driving, and recognizing faces. It does not affect side (peripheral) vision, so it does not lead to complete blindness. The disease is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and it is most common in people who are over the age of 60. AMD is the leading cause of visual impairment in senior citizens. An estimated 15 million people in the United States have it, and approximately two million new cases are diagnosed annually.
Dry AMD accounts for about 9 out of 10 cases of macular degeneration. It develops slowly and causes central vision to become dimmer or more blurry over time. It usually does not cause severe vision loss unless it turns into the wet form.
Wet AMD accounts for only about 1 out of 10 cases of macular degeneration. It can cause serious vision loss within months or even weeks. People who have the wet form have the dry form first.
Today we have treatment that can often prevent vision loss.
You may have either type in just one eye, but over time you may get it in the other eye too.
Macular Degeneration Treatment Options
If you have the wet form of macular degeneration, you may have one or more of the following treatments:
- Injections of medicine into your eye
- Laser surgery
If Dr. Bronner recommends photodynamic therapy, injections, or laser surgery, it is important to have it done right away. No one has found a treatment or a cure for the dry form of age-related macular degeneration. Antioxidants may protect against age-related macular degeneration by preventing free radicals or unstable oxygen from damaging the retina. Dr. Bronner will direct you in the appropriate course of treatment for your specific needs.