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Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

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About Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition and is a leading cause of vision loss in people age 50 and older. It targets the macula – the part of the eye responsible for central vision – and can vary in how it impacts people. Some people may experience slow, gradual vision loss while others may experience more rapid or asymmetrical vision loss.

The result of AMD are large blind spots in your central vision. AMD rarely leaves you completely blind, but as the blind spots in your field of view are significant, it can have a dramatic impact on your life.

AMD is generally diagnosed with a comprehensive dilated eye exam1. As with most eye diseases, early diagnosis and management is more likely to prolong your quality of vision.

Causes & Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

There are two types of AMD: dry (non-neovascular) and wet (neovascular). The dry form of AMD is much more common than the wet variety, making up about 90% of cases. AMD’s onset is slow and painless, with its onset being marked by the gradual appearance of increasingly-dark areas in your central field of view.

The exact cause of AMD is not yet known- research is ongoing. However, studies at major institutions suggest that genetics may play a role in the development of AMD. Risk factors, such as smoking, obesity, and exposure to UV rays (sunlight) are also known to facilitate the development of AMD.

More Information About the Two Types of AMD

  • Non-Neovascular (Dry) AMD – Small yellow deposits called drusen form on your macula. This drusen impairs your vision, and tends to increase in size and quantity as the disease progresses. This reduces the number of light-sensitive cells in your macula, forming a blind spot in your central vision.


  • Neovascular (Wet) AMD – Drusen is also a part of wet AMD. In wet AMD, blood vessels begin to form under the macula and leak blood (and other fluids) into the eye. This can cause scarring and further damage to the macula. As with dry AMD, blind spots are an eventual outcome of its progression.


Treating & Managing AMD

Research has shown that certain lifestyle factors – namely, cessation of smoking and leading a healthy lifestyle – can have a positive influence on AMD’s development. Recent studies have shown that a diet rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc can also slow the progression of AMD.

Currently, there are no FDA-approved treatments for dry AMD. Wet AMD can be treated with medication designed to stop the development of abnormal blood vessels.

Please visit us for a detailed assessment of your AMD and your treatment options.