As its name suggests, macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a deterioration of the macula. Macular degeneration occurs very gradually in some people, while it progresses quickly in others.
The macula is a small area of the retina that controls visual acuity, or the sharpness of your vision. It’s responsible for seeing objects that are straight in front of you, so when it’s damaged, your ability to read, write, drive, or do close-up work is affected.
Macular degeneration proceeds through progressive stages based on changes in the retina. In the first two stages, you probably won’t have symptoms and the ongoing deterioration is only detected during a comprehensive eye exam.
In late-stage AMD, you’ll begin to experience vision loss. There are two types of late AMD:
Dry macular degeneration
The most common form of AMD, dry macular degeneration occurs as macular tissues thin due to aging, and cells responsible for sending visual information to the brain begin to break down. Dry macular degeneration progresses slowly.
Wet macular degeneration
This type of AMD develops when abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the retina. The vessels leak fluid and blood, which causes swelling and permanent macular damage. Wet macular degeneration may develop gradually or rapidly.
Dry and wet macular degeneration cause symptoms such as:
Treatment depends on the stage and type of macular degeneration. While there currently aren’t any medical treatments for dry macular degeneration, your doctor at Mollick Professional Center may recommend nutritional supplements to help prevent it from degenerating into the wet form.
If your AMD has progressed to the wet form, treatment options include: