Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a is a leading cause of vision loss in seniors in which the central portion of the retina, called the macula, is damaged as a result of the hardening of the small arteries supplying oxygen and nutrients to the retinal tissue.

There are two main types of Age Related Macular Degeneration: Dry Macular Degeneration and Wet Macular Degeneration

Dry Macular Degeneration is the most common type of Age Related Macular Degeneration making up 85-90% of cases, resulting in a slow progressive loss of vision. Typically, we see small, yellow colored deposits between the retinal layers, which are called Drusen. Many people 50 years of age or older begin to display some Drusen as they age and you may be asked to schedule eye examinations more frequently in order to monitor them as there is some possibility that Dry Macular Degeneration will progress to Wet Macular Degeneration over a period of time. Thus people with Dry Macular Degeneration, even without any noticeable change in vision, need to be followed closely as Wet Macular Degeneration has far more serious consequences for vision loss. 

Fortunately, Wet Macular Degeneration only accounts for about 10-15% of cases as it is likely to cause far more serious vision and often catastrophic vision loss if not detected and treated quickly. Wet Macular Degeneration is characterized by an abnormal growth of new blood vessels under the retina, called “neovascularization,” which is prone to be leaky and can easily break and bleed. If leakage occurs, the macula may actually begin to swell, bleed and scar causing severe loss of central vision, which may be irreversible.

Anyone over the age of 50, and especially seniors, should take a moment to learn about risk factors for age related macular degeneration (AMD). Age related macular degeneration continues to be a leading cause of severe vision loss among Americans ages 65 and over. YOU can make a difference in preserving your vision by knowing your risk factors, being aware of your family history, and scheduling regular eye exam appointments. As with many age related eye problems, the key to preventing vision loss from age related macular degeneration is early detection, diagnosis and treatment as recommended by your eye doctor.

Top AMD Risks You Should Know

  • Being over the Age of 60
  • Having a Family History of AMD
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension

If you have any two of these risk factors, you should schedule an appointment for a complete eye exam and evaluation. We may recommend certain lifestyle choices and preventative measures to help you manage the risks and hopefully reduce your risk of vision loss.