What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is also known as Age related macular degeneration as the symptoms usually do not appear in people below 55 years of age.
The macula is a spot about 1/16 inches in diameter at the center of the retina. The macula enables focuesed vision and allows you to read, drive, watch TV etc. Macular degeneration refers to the scarring of the macula. This scarring distorts part of the central image that the eye transmits to the brain. This happens even though the rest of the retina of the eye can continue to process images at the side of the field of vision.
Macular degeneration can be dry or wet. The wet form of ARMD is less common and requires immediate medical attention as delay in treatment can lead to loss of central vision.
Who can get affected by Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is the primary cause of vision loss in the US. More than 13 million people in the US show some sign of ARMD. Symptoms generally appear in people over 55 years of age. For people over 65, macular degeneration may already affect their central vision even though most people with this disease are able to maintain peripheral vision.
What causes Macular Degeneration?
Dry ARMD is caused by tiny yellow deposits that develop beneath the macula. This signals degeneration and thinning of nerve tissue. Sometimes Dry Age related macular degeration develops in wet or neovascular ARMD. In this case abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the macula. When these vessels leak blood and fluid onto the retina, retinal cells die which cause blurring and blank spots in the field of vision.
People are more likely to get ARMD as they grow older.
Risk Factors for ARMD
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Nutritional deficiencies.