Age-related macular degeneration (sometimes called “AMD” or “ARMD”), a serious threat to vision, can result in permanent blindness if not detected and treated promptly.
This disease affects the macula, a critical component of the eye’s retina that handles central vision. The macula changes light into nerve signals that then travel through the optic nerve to the brain. Macular degeneration blurs images and fine print, and can distort vision.
There are two types of macular degeneration, “dry” and “wet.”
Macular Degeneration: Overview
Dry Macular Degeneration
The most common form, “dry” macular degeneration accounts for 90% of ARMD cases but is responsible for only 10% of blindness caused by this disease. The light-sensing cells of the macula slowly break down and central vision deteriorates.
Wet Macular Degeneration
The relatively rare “wet” form of macular degeneration is responsible for about 10% of reported cases of ARMD, but the chance of going blind from this form are much higher. In this form, new blood vessels grow under the macula. These vessel are weak and can leak blood that damages the macula, causing vision to diminish very quickly.
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
Some factors that may increase risk of developing macular degeneration include:
- High blood pressure
- Over-exposure to sunlight and UV radiation
- Family history
- Poor diet