Age-Related Macular Degeneration

What is age-related macular degeneration?  

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a problem with your retina.  It happens when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged.  With AMD you lose your central vision.  You cannot see fine details, whether you are looking at something close or far.  But your peripheral (side) vision will still be normal.  AMD is very common.  It is a leading cause of vision loss in people 50 years or older.  


Two Types of AMD
Dry AMD:  This form is quite common.  About 80% (8 out of 10) people who have AMD have the dry form.  Dry AMD is when parts of the macula get thinner with age and tiny clumps of protein called drusen grow.  You slowly lose central vision.  There is no way to treat dry AMD yet.  
Wet AMD: This form of AMD is less common but much more serious.  Wet AMD is when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina.  These vessels may leak blood or other fluids, causing scarring of the macula.  You 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 eye doctor.  He or she can look for early signs of AMD before you have any vision problem.  


Who is at risk for getting AMD?
You are more likely to develop AMD if you:
-eat a diet high in saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese)
-are overweight
-smoke cigarettes
-are over 50 years old
-have a family history of AMD
-are Caucasian


How is AMD diagnosed?
The earliest signs of AMD can be detected during a comprehensive eye exam before any vision loss has occurred.  During an eye exam, your eye doctor will put drops in your eyes to dilate (widen) the pupils.  This allows your doctor to look at the inside of your eyes with a special lens.  A yearly comprehensive eye exam is the best way to detect AMD before any lasting damage is done.  

Here at Chelsea Eye Associates, we give thorough comprehensive eye examinations.  If any of our patients develop macular degeneration significant to require advanced treatment, we partner with the best retinal specialists to give you the eye care you need and deserve. 

Chelsea Eye Associates