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Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

AMD is a common eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss among people aged 50 and older. It causes damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina and the part of the eye needed for sharp, central vision, which lets us see objects that are straight ahead.

In some people, AMD advances so slowly that vision loss does not occur for a long time. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in one or both eyes. As AMD progresses, a blurred area near the center of vision is a common symptom. Over time, the blurred area may grow larger or you may develop blank spots in your central vision. Objects also may not appear to be as bright as they used to be.

AMD by itself does not lead to complete blindness, with no ability to see. However, the loss of central vision in AMD can interfere with simple everyday activities.

Age Related Macular Degeneration occurs in two forms:

Wet AMD

Wet AMD is when the re-growth of new, fragile blood vessels beneath the macula. The new blood vessels leak blood and fluid causing damage to the macula and quickly leading to the loss of one’s central vision.

Dry AMD

Dry AMD is when there is a breakdown of light-censoring cells in the macula. This is evident when there is a disturbance of the macular pigmentation and deposits of yellowish material under the pigment epithelium layer in the central zone.

Who is at risk?

Age is a major risk factor for AMD. The disease is most likely to occur after age 60, but it can occur earlier. Other risk factors for AMD include:

How is Age Related Macular Degeneration detected?

The early and intermediate stages of AMD usually starts without symptoms. Only a comprehensive dilated eye exam can detect AMD. The eye exam may include the following:

During an exam, our eye care professional will look for drusen, which are yellow deposits beneath the retina. Most people develop some very small drusen as a normal part of aging. The presence of medium-to-large drusen may indicate that you have AMD.

Another sign of AMD is the appearance of pigmentary changes under the retina. In addition to the pigmented cells in the iris (the colored part of the eye), there are pigmented cells beneath the retina. As these cells break down and release their pigment, your eye care professional may see dark clumps of released pigment and later, areas that are less pigmented. These changes will not affect your eye color.

What are the stages of AMD?

There are three stages of AMD defined in part by the size and number of drusen under the retina. It is possible to have AMD in one eye only, or to have one eye with a later stage of AMD than the other.

Important statistics regarding AMD

Over 1.5 Million People

Over 1.5 million people in the United States alone are unable to drive, read, watch TV or do other up-close activities that you and I take for granted because they are legally blind as a result of AMD.

More than 10 Million People

More than 10 million have signs of this disease and on an average, 200,000 new cases are reported every year.

If you believe you are suffering from age related macular degeneration, contact us to learn more about your treatment options.

Locations

Watertown

1815 State Street
Watertown, NY 13601

(315) 788-6070

Ogdensburg

420 Ford Street
Ogdensburg, NY 13669

(315) 393-7171
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