Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of sight loss in those over 50 years of age. It essentially is a disease of the macula. The macula is responsible for providing detailed vision. Therefore damage to this part of the eye, although not leading to total vision loss, leads to difficulty with central vision.
AMD is generally defined as “dry” or “wet”.
Dry AMD is caused by loss of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) under the macula which nourishes the light sensitive cells in the retina. It therefore leads to wearing away of the light sensitive cells in the macula. Currently there is no effective treatment for this.
Wet AMD affects approximately 15% of those with AMD. This is caused by abnormal blood vessels growing underneath the macula. These are fragile and can leak fluid and blood in this very sensitive area of the retina. The symptoms are distortion of straight lines. Untreated, this can eventually lead to total central vision loss.