Macular degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that causes the macula to lose its normal structure (called degeneration). When the macula doesn’t work properly, you lose the center part of your vision. The center vision is where you see fine details.

  • AMD is more common in older people
  • In severe cases, it can lead to blindness
  • Certain vitamins may help slow vision loss from AMD
  • Some people need special treatments to slow down vision loss from AMD

There are two types of AMD. First you get:

  • Dry AMD, in which cells in the macula die slowly and cause a steady loss of vision

After you have had dry AMD for a while, you might get:

  • Wet AMD, in which new abnormal blood vessels grow under the damaged macula and leak blood, causing faster vision loss

What causes AMD?

  • Are older
  • Have family members with AMD
  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Have heart disease
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Are overweight
  • Have certain genetic problems

Treatments

If you have mild AMD, you won’t be given treatment. But the doctor may give you the following vitamins to keep AMD from getting worse:

Don’t take beta-carotene or vitamin A if you have been a smoker for the past 7 years or more because they can raise your chances of getting lung cancer.

If you have severe vision loss from AMD, your doctor may:

  • Give you injections in the back of your eyes
  • Use a special light or laser to fix the blood vessels in your eye
  • Suggest tools that help you read, such as magnifiers, special reading glasses, and other reading devices
  • Put a mini telescope in your eye, if your vision loss is severe and hasn’t improved with other treatments

Pain may also be treated as part of rehabilitation therapy. Such treatment makes movement easier and enables people to participate more fully in rehabilitation. Techniques used include heat therapy, cold therapy, electrical stimulation, traction, massage, and acupuncture.