According to the centers for disease control, age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss for people over the age of 50.
Macular degeneration happens slowly and there are no symptoms in its early stages. As macular degeneration progresses, the center of our vision starts to get blurry. Over time, this blurry area starts to spread and get bigger. Patients would often complain that they see blank spots and lines starting to look wavy.
Types of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is categorized depending on its different causes
Age-related macular disease (AMD), the most common type of macular degeneration, happens to people over the age of 50. Smokers, Caucasians, and people with a family history of AMD have a higher risk of developing this disease. AMD can either be wet or dry.
Dry AMD is the slow degeneration of the macula as the retinal cells die off and are not renewed. This typically happens gradually over many years.
Wet AMD is when abnormal blood vessels develop and grow into the macula, causing leakage of blood and fluid. This leaking results in scarring and a rapid loss of central vision. Wet AMD develops suddenly, but if detected early, it can also be treated quickly.
Stargardt disease, also known as juvenile macular degeneration, is a hereditary disorder. It typically causes vision impairment during childhood and adolescence but it can also develop later in adulthood.
Myopic Macular degeneration commonly occurs in people with severe nearsightedness. It is thought that severe nearsightedness is caused by abnormal progressive stretching and elongation of the eyeball. This stretching causes a thinning of the layers at the back of the eye which ultimately results in the degeneration of the macula.