Macular degeneration is most often related to the aging process. Many patients begin to notice changes in their vision around the age of 50. Macular degeneration usually begins with spots on the retina called drusen. These usually do not affect the vision. The presence of the drusen does not necessarily mean that a patient will develop severe vision loss. Only severe cases of macular degeneration lead to loss of central vision. If this occurs, it usually only occurs in one eye and may not develop in the other eye.
There are two main types of macular degeneration: a dry form (atrophic or non-exudative) that affects most of the people with advanced forms of macular degeneration. Patients with this form of macular degeneration notice blanks spots in their central vision. In the dry form, drusen is present. If drusen is present for a long period of time, it may cause the macula to thin and cease functioning. At the present time, there is no medical or surgical treatment for dry macular degeneration. Dry macular degeneration can turn into the wet form of macular degeneration, so it is important that patients monitor their central vision.
The more severe form of macular degeneration is the wet type. Abnormal blood vessels (choroidal neovascular membrane – CNVM) form under the macula. These blood vessels may leak fluid and blood. This causes the central vision to be reduced and distorted. The ability to see fine detail is lost. If CNVM occurs in one eye, there is an increased chance it may occur in the other eye. It is important that patients with wet macular degeneration monitor their vision with an Amsler Grid. We offer the latest treatments for wet macular degeneration.