Macular Degeneration

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in people over 65 in the United States. It is a slow, progressive, and painless condition that affects the macula – the small central part of the retina that allows you to clearly see fine details. Many people develop AMD as part of the aging process. This disease can occur in two different forms known as either Dry AMD or Wet AMD.

Dry AMD

The dry form of AMD accounts for 90% of all people with AMD. Recent studies suggest that dry AMD is caused by the aging and thinning of the tissues of the macula, a region in the center of the retina that allows people to see straight ahead and to distinguish fine details. Usually, vision remains functional in this form, and profound vision loss is uncommon.

Wet AMD

Wet AMD affects 10% of people with AMD and is a much greater threat to vision. With the wet form of the disease, rapidly growing, abnormal blood vessels develop under the central area of the retina. These vessels begin leaking fluid and blood that can cause severe loss of central vision. In the last several years, there have been promising treatments for this type of AMD. Treatment for Wet AMD is called Anti-VEGF Therapy. VEGF is an acronym for vascular endothelial growth factor. Currently, the most common and effective clinical treatment for wet AMD is anti-VEGF therapy which involves periodic intravitreal (into the eye) injections of a chemical called an “anti-VEGF.” Fortunately, there are several of these medications available on the market.

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