Example of vision affected by macular degeneration ARMDAffecting nearly 2 million Americans, macular degeneration, often called age–related macular degeneration (ARMD), is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in older people. As the name suggests, the macula (the center part of the retina that provides sharp, central vision) degenerates. In most cases, macular degeneration is a slow, painless loss of vision.

While older people are usually the ones who develop macular degeneration, the progressive disorder appears to affect whites and females particularly. Many of the diseases forms may be linked to the normal deterioration of eye tissue associated with older people, but there is also evidence of a genetic link to the disease. Routine eye exams of older patients can often detect signs of macular degeneration before actual symptoms are noticed.

In addition to aging, other risk factors associated with macular degeneration include smoking, heredity, high blood pressure, obesity and inactivity, side effects of certain drugs, and possible nutritional deficiencies.

While there is no known cure for macular degeneration, some treatments are known to delay its progress and even offer some vision improvement.

Macular degeneration is diagnosed as one of two forms:

  1. Dry AMD, which is more common
  2. Wet AMD, which is a more serious and potentially damaging form of the disease

Read about macular degeneration treatment.

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