Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Overview

Age related macular degeneration affects the macula, a small area in the retina where there is light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye.

The macula is where fine vision (central) is located, allowing you to read, see street signs, and see small details. The rest of the retina is for peripheral or side vision. As one ages, there may be damage to the retina as part of the normal aging process. This is associated with deposits of tiny pieces of fatty protein called drusen or other changes.

The exact cause of AMD is not fully understood, but it is strongly associated with aging. Age-related macular degeneration prevalence is about 2% for patients in their 50s and about 30% in patients over the age of 75. AMD affects your central vision, but your side vision is usually not affected. There are two types of age related macular degeneration, dry age related macular degeneration and wet age related macular degeneration. There are several risk factors for age-related macular degeneration as detailed further in this article.


Part 1: Macular Degeneration Overview

Describes AMD as the deterioration of the center of the retina, or macula, with a further description of the macula’s function. Describes early to late stage symptoms, showing how central vision becomes increasingly blurry and dark, while side vision remains unaffected. Urges patients to have regular check-ups to maintain or improve visual acuity.

Risk factors for age related macular degeneration
  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Family history of AMD
  • Female
  • Fatty diet
  • Elevated Cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity
Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration symptoms include:

  • A gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly
  • A gradual loss of color vision
  • Distorted or blurry vision; straight lines appear bent, crooked, or irregular
  • A dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision
  • The size of objects may appear different for each eye

Part 2: AMD Symptoms

Describes significant symptoms of macular degeneration, such as blurred or distorted central vision, noting that side vision is not affected. Colors may also become less vivid.

Types of age-related macular degeneration and stages of age related macular degeneration


This is the most common form. It occurs when tiny deposits of fatty protein collect under the retina. These deposits are known as drusen. This may be associated with thinning of the macula, leading to gradual damage to your vision. This type of AMD is not associated with leakage of fluid or blood and is also known as non-neovascular AMD. Dry AMD can progress to wet AMD and is usually monitored with an Amsler grid test that can be done at home.


This occurs in about 10% of patients with AMD and is associated with abnormal blood vessels growing underneath the retina. These blood vessels can leak fluid or blood, causing distortion of the central vision. Damage to your vision occurs faster with wet AMD than with dry AMD. If you have wet AMD in one eye, then you are at greater risk for developing a similar problem in the other eye.

Diagnosing AMD

If AMD is suspected, your doctor will perform a series of tests using an Amsler grid or fluorescein angiography to detect this serious condition as early as possible. Early signs of age related macular degeneration sometimes include distortion on Amsler grid testing.

Treatment of AMD

While there is no cure for macular degeneration, there are several treatment options available to help patients manage this condition and preserve their vision. The best treatment option for each patient depends on the severity and type of the condition, as well as how much, if any, permanent vision loss has occurred. Treatment options included different forms of anti-VEGF therapies. Some of these therapies include Avastin, Lucentis and Eylea.

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