A: Age-related Macular Degeneration is a common condition that is the number one cause of vision loss among those 50 years and older. AMD is the breakdown of the macula, a small spot in the retina, which is responsible for our central vision and allows us to see sharply and clearly.
There are two forms of AMD, “dry” or non-exudative AMD and “wet” or exudative AMD. Dry AMD is often the more mild variation, and it involves the drying of the macula, which causes it to lose function. Patients often have good central vision, but have functional limitations such as difficulty reading, limited vision at night, and fluctuating vision.
“Wet” AMD is the more advanced form of AMD and it is usually more sight-threatening. This variation is characterized by the abnormal blood vessels that grow under the retina and macula. These vessels then bleed or leak fluid, scarring the macula which in turn distorts the central vision. Patients typically see dark spots, visual distortions, and an overall haziness.
Unfortunately, there is no “cure” that can reverse the effects of AMD, however there are therapies that have been developed to help stabilize or reduce the rate of vision loss. There are also certain medications that can be injected in the eyes, and supplementation of key vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc.
Early detection is the key to slowing vision loss associated with AMD. It is important to constantly monitor the symptoms and make sure to see our retina specialist, Whitney Boling, M.D. regular check-ups.