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What is ARMD?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that may get worse over time. It’s the leading cause of severe, permanent vision loss in people over age 60. It happens when the small central portion of your retina, called the macula, wears down. The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of your eye. Because the disease happens as you get older, it’s often called age-related macular degeneration. It usually doesn’t cause blindness but might cause severe vision problems. Another form of macular degeneration, called Stargardt disease or juvenile macular degeneration, affects children and young adults.

There are two main types of age-related macular degeneration:

  • Dry form:
    People with this may have yellow deposits, called drusen, in their macula. A few small drusen may not cause changes in your vision. But as they get bigger and more numerous, they might dim or distort your vision, especially when you read. As the condition gets worse, the light-sensitive cells in your macula get thinner and eventually die. In the atrophic form, you may have blind spots in the center of your vision. As that gets worse, you might lose central vision.
  • Wet form:
    Blood vessels grow from underneath your macula. These blood vessels leak blood and fluid into your retina. Your vision is distorted so that straight lines look wavy. You may also have blind spots and loss of central vision. These blood vessels and their bleeding eventually form a scar, leading to permanent loss of central vision.

Most people with macular degeneration have the dry form, but the dry form can lead to the wet form. Only about 10% of people with macular degeneration get the wet form.

Causes of Macular Degeneration:

Age-related macular degeneration is more common in older people. It’s the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over 60.

Macular degeneration may have something to do with your genes. If someone in your family has it, your risk might be higher.

Smoking, having high blood pressure or high cholesterol, obesity, eating lots of saturated fat, being light-skinned, being female, and having a light eye color are also risk factors.

Symptoms Of Macular Degeneration:

  • Worse or less clear vision. Your vision might be blurry, and it may be hard to read fine print or drive.
  • Dark, blurry areas in the center of your vision
  • Rarely, worse or different color perception