Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration
Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 and older. It is a disease that destroys your sharp, central vision. You need central vision to see objects clearly and to do tasks such as reading and driving.

AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. It does not hurt, but it causes cells in the macula to die. 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. Regular comprehensive eye exams can detect macular degeneration before the disease causes vision loss. Treatment can slow vision loss. It does not restore vision.

Age Related Macular Degeneration
Normal vision and AMD Vision

AMD is most common in older people, but it can occur during middle age. The risk increases with age. Other risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Race. Whites are much more likely to lose vision from AMD than African-Americans.
  • Family history. People with a family history of AMD are at higher risk of getting the disease.
  • Gender. Women appear to be at greater risk than men.

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