AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION
What is Age-related Macular Degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects the macula, the central vision of the eye. Although it does not lead to complete blindness, AMD interferes with everyday activities such as reading, driving or anything that requires close work.
For some, AMD advances so slowly that vision loss does not occur for a long time. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in one or both eyes. A common symptom of AMD is a blurred area near the centre of vision. Over time, the blurred area may grow larger or blank spots may develop in one’s central vision. Objects may also appear to be darker than they used to be.
Who is affected?
Though macular degeneration is associated with ageing, research shows that the following are contributory factors:
- Obesity and inactivity
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
Types of AMD
1 Dry AMD
Dry AMD is most common type of macular degeneration affecting 90% of the people who have the condition. There is a breakdown or thinning of the layer of retinal pigment epithelial cells in the macula over a period of years. This progresses to late-stage geographic atrophy which can result in severe vision loss.
2 Wet AMD
Wet AMD on the other hand, is caused by abnormal blood vessels that leak fluid or blood into the macula. This results in blurred vision or a blind spot in one’s visual field.