Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease associated with aging that gradually destroys sharp, central vision. AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail.
AMD causes no pain. In some cases, AMD advances so slowly that people notice little change in their vision. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in both eyes. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years of age and older.
AMD occurs in two forms: wet and dry.
With wet AMD, loss of central vision can occur quickly. Wet AMD is also known as advanced AMD. It does not have stages like dry AMD.
Dry AMD occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As dry AMD gets worse, you may see a blurred spot in the center of your vision. Over time, as less of the macula functions, central vision is gradually lost in the affected eye.
Frequently Asked Questions about Wet and Dry AMD
Which is more common-the dry form or the wet form?
The dry form is much more common. More than 85 percent of all people with intermediate and advanced AMD combined have the dry form.
Can the dry form turn into the wet form?
Yes. All people who have the wet form had the dry form first.
Who is at risk for AMD?
The greatest risk factor is age. Although AMD may occur during middle age, studies show that people over age 60 are clearly at greater risk than other age groups.
Other risk factors include:
- Smoking may increase the risk of AMD.
- Obesity .Research studies suggest a link between obesity and the progression of early and intermediate stage AMD to advanced AMD.
- Race. Whites are much more likely to lose vision from AMD than African Americans.
- Family history. Those with immediate family members who have AMD are at a higher risk of developing the disease.
- Gender. Women appear to be at greater risk than men.
What are the symptoms?
For dry AMD: the most common early sign is blurred vision. Some may experience a small–but growing–blind spot in the middle of their field of vision.
For wet AMD: the classic early symptom is that straight lines appear crooked. A small blind spot may also appear in wet AMD, resulting in loss of one’s central vision.
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact our office for a comprehensive eye exam.