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Macular Degenaration

Mon, 07/16/2012 - 14:54 -- admin

Age-related Macular Degeneration (A.M.D.) is an eye disease that destroys central vision by damaging the macula – a thin layer of nerve cells that lines most of the inside of the eyeball.

Age-related Macular Degeneration (A.M.D.)

What is A.M.D.?

Age-related Macular Degeneration (A.M.D.) is an eye disease that destroys central vision by damaging the macula, a thin layer of nerve cells that lines
most of the inside of your eyeball and is part of the retina. Nerve cells in the retina detect light and send signals to the brain of what your eye sees.
The macula is near the center of the retina at the back of the eyeball and provides the clear, sharp, central vision that you use for focusing on what
is in front of you.

visual of what an AMD person sees
Because A.M.D. does not affect side vision, it does not lead to total blindness. However it will cause central vision loss, the most important part of your
vision. Central vision lets you identify shapes, colours, and details sharply and clearly and lets you see what is directly in front of you. Therefore,
in its advanced stages, A.M.D. can be devastating. It most commonly affects people in their 60s or older and is the leading cause of vision loss and legal
blindness in people over age 65 in the United States.

Are there different types of this disorder?
There are two types of Age-related Macular Degeneration and either type may affect one or both eyes. Dry Age-related Macular Degeneration is the most common
form (90% of cases) and does not usually cause severe vision loss. Central vision slowly becomes dimmer or blurred as the person gets older. Wet Age-related
Macular Degeneration is much less common (10% of cases). It can damage the macula quickly and cause rapid and severe loss of central vision.

How is it treated?
There are only a few ways to treat A.M.D. Glasses cannot correct the problem. If an area of the macula breaks down and stops functioning, the person's
central field of vision will have a blank or dark spot that will never go away. Vision loss from A.M.D. usually cannot be reversed. In addition, there
is no cure or treatment for dry age-related Macular Degeneration (dry A.M.D.) at this time. Because vision loss happens very slowly, people afflicted with
dry A.M.D. may not have significant problems with their vision for many years. For example, it may affect only one eye, and a person can compensate with
the unaffected eye. A person with dry A.M.D. should follow his or her doctor's recommendations for regular exams and monitoring the condition at home (such
as viewing an Amsler Grid).

Dry A.M.D. may sometimes develop into wet A.M.D., a more serious form of the disease. Wet A.M.D. can sometimes be treated with laser surgery or photodynamic
therapy (PDT). Other types of surgery and treatments using radiation or medications are being investigated, but these are considered experimental and are
not part of standard treatments. However, people with reduced vision can use vision aids, develop a support network, and receive counselling and training
to help them cope with their reduced vision, effectively use the vision they have, and maintain their quality of life.

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