Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a retinal disease that affects the small central area of the retina known as the macula.
With AMD your vision may be less sharp, distorted or blurry which can make it hard to do everyday tasks like reading, driving and even recognizing a friend’s face.
The exact cause of AMD is unknown but it develops as the eye ages. It is the leading cause of vision loss in older Americans.
There are two types of AMD, wet and dry. The most common form is dry AMD which develops and worsens slowly over time. Wet AMD is less common but can progress much faster and cause loss of central vision in one or both eyes.
The Retina and Age-Related Macular Degeneration
The retina is a thin layer of light-sensitive nerve tissue that lines the back of the eye cavity.
When light enters the eye, it passes through the iris to the retina where images are focused and are converted into electrical impulses that travel through the optic nerve to the brain resulting in sight.
With early dry AMD, pale yellow lesions called drusen can develop and parts of the macula can deteriorate, causing vision loss over time. With wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the retina which may bleed or hemorrhage causing wavy lines or loss of central vision.