Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of blindness in individuals age 65 and older in the western world. It results from a hardening of the arteries that nourish the retina affecting the macula, which is the part of the retina that is responsible for clear vision. Deprived of oxygen and essential nutrients needed for the retina to function, the central vision deteriorates. In addition to age, other risk factors for AMD include female gender, a family history of AMD, cardiovascular disease, smoking and sunlight exposure. Signs of macular degeneration include loss of central vision (either gradually or suddenly), difficulty performing tasks that require the ability to see detail and/or distorted or wavy vision.
There are two types of AMD.
- Dry AMD is the most common form of the disease and has a better long-term visual prognosis than wet AMD. Recent studies indicate the role of antioxidant vitamins and nutritional supplements which may be helpful for the prevention of AMD in some patients.
Wet AMD is associated with the development of new blood vessels that grow beneath the retina leading to bleeding, scarring and severe reduction in central vision. Recent developments allow for early recognition and promising treatments for wet AMD. In addition, many experimental treatments including retinal microchips, stem cell transplantation and gene therapy are currently being tested for their effectiveness in treating macular degeneration.
At Ophthalmology Associates of Glen Cove, we have a Fellowship Trained, Board Certified Retina Specialist who come to our office. Using our state of the art equipment, he is able to diagnose and treat macular degeneration at its earliest stage.