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Macular Degeneration

WHAT IS MACULAR DEGENERATION?

Macular degeneration, often called AMD (age-related macular degeneration) is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in older Americans.  AMD occurs with the degeneration of the macula, which is the part of the retina responsible for the sharp, central vision needed to read or drive. Central vision loss may also occur.

WHAT CAUSES MACULAR DEGENERATION?

Many forms of macular degeneration may be linked to aging and related deterioration of the eye tissue crucial for good vision.  New evidence strongly suggest that smoking, heredity and high blood pressure may also attribute to macular degeneration.

WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO GET MACULAR DEGENERATION?

Besides affecting older populations, AMD appears to occur in whites and females more predominately.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF MACULAR DEGENERATION?

Macular degeneration usually produces a slow, or rarely, sudden painless loss of vision.  Early signs of vision loss associated with AMD can include seeing shadowy areas in your central vision or unusually fuzzy distorted vision.

HOW IS MACULAR DEGENERATION DETECTED?

Your eye doctor often detects early signs of macular degeneration before symptoms occur.  When AMD is suspected a brief test using an Amsler grid that measures your central vision may be performed. If your eye doctor notices a defect in your central vision he or she may order a test to examine the blood vessels surrounding the macula.

HOW IS MACULAR DEGENERATION TREATED?

While there is no cure for macular degeneration, some treatments may delay progression or even improve your vision.  Treatment types are dependent on the type of macular degeneration you are diagnosed with.  Your eye care specialist will discuss treatment options with based on your type of AMD.

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