Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a deterioration or breakdown of the eye’s macula. The macula is a small area in the retina — the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. The macula is the part of the retina that is responsible for your central vision, allowing you to see fine details clearly. The macula makes up only a small part of the retina, yet it is much more sensitive to detail than the rest of the retina (called the peripheral retina). The macula is what allows you to thread a needle, read small print, and read street signs. The peripheral retina gives you side (or peripheral) vision. If someone is standing off to one side of your vision, your peripheral retina helps you know that person is there by allowing you to see their general shape. Many older people develop macular degeneration as part of the body’s natural aging process. There are different kinds of macular problems, but the most common is age-related macular degeneration. With macular degeneration, you may have symptoms such as blurriness, dark areas or distortion in your central vision, and perhaps permanent loss of your central vision. It usually does not affect your side, or peripheral vision. For example, with advanced macular degeneration, you could see the outline of a clock, yet may not be able to see the hands of the clock to tell what time it is. Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans – more than cataracts and glaucoma combined. At present, Macular Degeneration is considered an incurable eye disease.
Types of Macular Degeneration
There are two basic types of Macular Degeneration: “Dry and Wet. Approximately 85% to 90% of the cases of Macular Degeneration are the “dry” (atrophic) type, while 10-15% are the “wet” (exudative) type.
Causes of AMD
The specific factors that cause macular degeneration are not conclusively known, and research into this little understood disease is limited by insufficient funding. At this point, what is known about age-related Macular Degeneration is that the causes are complex, but include both heredity and environment.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration: 2.07 million Americans, 2015 low vision report – The vision Council
Amsler Grid Eye Test
The Amsler Grid is a test for macular degeneration. Use it to monitor your vision between visits to an eye care professional. One of the first signs of macular degeneration can be wavy, broken or distorted lines OR a blurred or missing area of vision. The Amsler Grid can help you spot these early ￼
▪ Distortion where straight lines appear wavy or bent ▪ Distinguishing faces becomes a problem ▪ Difficulty in reading or doing any other activity ▪ Dark patches appearing in the centre of your vision ▪ Problems of perception to drive ▪ Diminished or altered colour perception
Sources(*American Academy of Ophthalmology *American Macular Degeneration Foundation *American Foundation for the Blind.
Genetics – People with a family history of AMD are at a higher risk. •Race – Caucasians are more likely to develop the disease than African-Americans or Hispanics/Latinos. •Smoking – Smoking doubles the risk of AMD.
Low Vision Aids for Macular Degeneration
▪ Stand Magnifier ▪ Telescopic system ▪ Video Magnifier System ▪ Filters Eyewear ▪ NOn Optical No optical aids are visual aids that do not use magnifying glasses to improve visual function. Such as: large keyboards, large print books, Talking products ,Talking Watch and calculators , special computer programs.
Information provided on Low Vision America is intended for divulgative use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have any concerns about your visual health, please contact your doctor.