Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the breakdown of the macula, which is a small, but very important area in the back of the eye. The macula provides the sharp, central vision we need for reading, driving and seeing fine detail. Macular degeneration can cause sudden and severe loss of vision in the middle of your visual field. It usually does not affect peripheral vision. AMD related vision loss usually begins in one eye, but it may affect the other eye later. Central vision problems are more obvious if both eyes have macular degeneration.
There are two types of AMD: wet and dry. Wet AMD happens when abnormal blood vessels grow under the macula. These new blood vessels often leak blood and fluid. Wet AMD damages the macula quickly. Blurred vision is a common early symptom. Dry AMD happens when the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down. You gradually lose your central vision. A common early symptom is that straight lines appear crooked.
Your doctor will thoroughly examine the back of your eye. Your doctor may also take special photographs of the eye called fluorescein angiography to find abnormal blood vessels under the retina. Treatment options vary, and clinical trials are underway for certain types of AMD.
If you are experiencing diminished or distorted vision, call Florida Eye Associates at 321-727-2020 to discuss your risk factors — especially if macular degeneration runs in your family. Or, if you have been diagnosed with Macular Degeneration, learn more about our clinical trials and learn if you may be eligible to participate.