What is Macular Degeneration?
ARMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration) is a process of wear and tear in the macula, which is the part of the eye responsible for sharp, central vision and color. It is the leading cause of vision loss among people over the age of 65. Macular degeneration usually affects both eyes and can be either gradual or abrupt. Peripheral (side) vision is unaffected.
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
The thin, fragile macula within the center of the retina is made up of several layers. The light-sensing cells produce sharp, central vision while two underlying layers nourish and help remove waste from these cells.
Just as some plants are easily damaged if they recieve too much sun or water, macular degeneration is similar in some ways. Light may play a role in the development of the Dry type, in which cell waste isn't easily digested, builds up, and swelling occurs. It can be a forerunner of "wet" macular degeneration.
The Wet type may cause rapid, severe vision loss. It usually occurs when abnormal, new blood vessels grow for unknown reasons, leaking fluid and blood. The build-up of fluid causes the macula to bulge, distorting vision.
Macular Degeneration is never caused by "over-using" the eyes.
What treatments are available for Macular Degeneration?
- Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) with Visudyne
- Laser Photocoagulation
- Laser treatment for Wet ARMD uses a highly focused beam of light to seal tiny, leaking blood vessels and dry up excess fluid. Unfortunately, it is not useful for treating dry macular degeneration.