Macular Degeneration

 

MACULA where it all starts is a small oval-shaped area at the center of the retina.  Light-sensitive cells located there send visual signals to the brain.  Sharp, clear vision processed by the macula allows a person to read, do fine detail work and drive. Damage to the macula causes blurred or distorted vision with possible loss of central vision. AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION (referred to as ARMD or AMD or) is a progressive eye disease that causes the breakdown of the macula. It is painless, almost always develops in both eyes although one may be more severely affected.  The disease usually progresses slowly but is dependent on which of the two types a person has. DRY ARMD is the most common type affecting 85-90% of the people with the disease.  Small yellowish deposits called drusen start to form and collect beneath the macula.  As the disease advances through the early, intermediate and advanced stages the ability to read, recognize faces, drive and do detailed work becomes more difficult as the number and size od the drusen grow.  A large blurry spot in the central field of vision may appear.   WET ARMD caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the macula occurs in about 10% of the people with macular degeneration. These are very fragile and often leak fluid damaging the macula and causing visual cells to die.  Wet macular degeneration is considered advanced and severe vision loss can occur rapidly.  An early symptom of the wet type of the disease is that straight lines seem wavy or crooked. (That’s why it’s important to use the Amsler Grid every day).