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Macular Degeneration

MacularDegeneration is an eye disease that slowly destroys sharp, central vision. The macula is the central area of the retina and its own central area, called the fovea, is what gives us our central vision – what we use to read or do any close work. This disease is also called Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) since it typically affects older adults.

Behind the retina is a layer of the eyeball called the choroid that contains blood vessels. They bring oxygen and nutrients to the macula (and whole retina) and carry away its waste products. In AMD, bits of debris called drusen collect between the choroid and the retina. They gradually build up until they cause the retina to partially separate from some of its choroidal blood supply.

This damages the light-sensitive retinal cells and reduces their ability to convert images to electrical energy. The optic nerve therefore has less data to carry to the brain for interpretation.

AMD may develop slowly or quickly but it gives no pain.

What are the symptoms of Macular Degeneration?

The typical early symptom is blurriness when you try to focus directly on something. You may want to turn on more light if you want to read or sew and the blurriness may be reduced in brighter light. As AMD develops, you will be able to notice a small blind spot in the middle of your field of vision. If you progress to Wet AMD, straight lines will start to look crooked.

Use the following links for more information about what happens when the macular degenerates and for treatment information.