Age-related Macular Degeneration (ARMD)
Age-related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) is the number one cause of legal blindness among people over the age of 60. This disease affects the macula (the portion of the eye responsible for central vision), which can make it very difficult to read, drive, or perform your daily activities.
People between the ages of 64 and 74 have a 1-in-4 chance of developing ARMD, and the risk increases with age. The risk also doubles if you smoke, have high cholesterol, high hypertension, exposure to UV rays, or a family history of the disease.
There are two types of macular degeneration: Dry ARMD and Wet ARMD. Dry ARMD affects about 90% of people with this disease, which causes light cells located in the macula to break down. Wet ARMD affects the other 10% of people with macular degeneration, but it amounts for up to 90% of severe vision loss caused by the disease. This type of degeneration occurs when new blood vessels in the retina grow toward the macula, often leaking blood and fluid into the eye.
Your central vision will begin to blur as your condition gets worse, sometimes causing a dark spot that can get bigger and darker with time. Straight lines will begin to appear wavy or you may notice grey, shaded spots in your vision. Your doctor may recommend using an Amsler Grid(such as the one shown below) to help monitor the progression of your disease and watch for any changes in your vision.
Some studies have shown that antioxidant vitamins and zinc may help slow the progression of Dry ARMD. However, Wet ARMD requires immediate attention to help prevent further vision loss. If you have been diagnosed with Wet ARMD, your doctor may recommend a focal grid laser treatment.
Macular Degeneration often does not have any early symptoms, as it is painless and oftentimes subtl