Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the main cause of permanent vision loss in people over the age of 50. Even when it does not cause complete blindness, vision degenerates to the point of severe vision issues that impact quality of life and mobility. There are two types of macular degeneration – wet and dry. Wet AMD occurs when the blood vessels proliferate from behind the macula. As the vessels continue to grow, vision continues to worsen. Dry macular degeneration is caused by fatty deposits in the macula, which can dim your vision and eventually lose your vision. The majority of patients with AMD have dry macular degeneration, but having the dry form of AMD can cause the wet form.
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
As your eyes age, your macula – the central portion of your retina – wears down. There has not been enough research to determine an exact cause, but it is believed that while age contributes to the disease, environmental factors may play a role in the development of AMD. Macular degeneration can also be hereditary, so there is a genetic factor at play as well.
Can Children Get Macular Degeneration?
Stargardt disease, also called juvenile macular degeneration, occurs in younger adults as well as in children. It is am inherited genetic condition that causes decreased central vision and blindness.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
Early symptoms of macular degeneration may not be noticeable. Regular comprehensive eye exams are the best way to detect the disease. You may notice blurry vision or experience blind spots in your vision. If this happens, you should make an appointment to see your eye doctor right away.
Treatments for Macular Degeneration
Treatment for wet macular degeneration is direct injections of VEGF inhibitors into the eye. This converts wet degeneration to dry. At this time, there are no medications or treatments for dry macular degeneration, but certain lifestyle changes and vitamin therapies can slow its progress.