Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is an acquired degeneration of the retina that can cause differing levels of central visual impairment. The two main types of macular degeneration include:
"Dry Macular Degeneration" (accounts for 85-90% of ARMD cases) is caused by changes in the underlying architecture of the macula (responsible for central vision). It doesn't tend to cause severe vision loss, and is usually managed conservatively with oral vitamins and careful observation.
"Wet Macular Degeneration" (accounts for 10-15% of ARMD cases) is caused by growth of abnormal blood vessels that can cause bleeding and fluid accumulation in the retina. The abnormal bleeding and fluid can eventually lead to scarring. This type of ARMD can lead to severe vision loss, but treatment with injections, laser, or surgery can limit vision loss.
What causes Macular Degeneration?
Those of European ancestry tend to have a genetic predisposition.
Environmental, nutritional, and developmental (ie., aging) causes are also attributed, but research is still ongoing.
What are the symptoms?
Decreased visual acuity, insidious or sudden-onset
Distorted near vision
Scotoma (area of vision loss with surrounding normal vision)