Macular Degeneration is the most common cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans – more than cataracts and glaucoma combined.
At present, Macular Degeneration is considered an incurable eye disease.
The macula is made up of millions of light-sensing cells that provide sharp, central vision. Macular Degeneration happened due to the damage of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain, and it controls our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces or colors, and see objects in fine detail.
There are two common types of Macular Degeneration: “dry” and “wet.” Approximately 85% to 90% of the cases of Macular Degeneration are the “dry” (atrophic) type, while 10-15% is the “wet” (exudative) type.
Stages of Macular Degeneration
There are three steps of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
Early AMD – Most population do not experience vision loss in the early stage of AMD, which is why regular eye exams are important, particularly if you have more than one risk factor (see below). Early AMD is diagnosed by the presence of medium-sized drusen (yellow deposits underneath the retina).
Intermediate AMD – At this stage, there may be little vision loss, but there still may not be noticeable symptoms. A comprehensive eye exam with specific tests will look for larger drusen and/or pigment changes in the retina.
Late AMD – At this stage, vision loss has become noticeable.