Macular degeneration (also called AMD, ARMD, or age-related macular degeneration) is the leading cause of vision loss after the age of 50. The disease occurs equally in men and women, and is more common among Caucasian people. There is some evidence that heredity plays a role. In macular degeneration, central vision is lost, but good peripheral vision may continue. While both eyes are affected, one eye may be more affected than the other.
There are two types of macular degeneration: the dry form and the wet form. In the dry form, there is a slow loss of central vision. No treatment has proven to be effective. It is important to check daily for any changes in the size and shape of the area of vision loss. Such changes may signal the onset of the wet form of macular degeneration, and requires immediate evaluation. To monitor for changes, patients are instructed in the use of an Amsler grid.
In the wet form of macular degeneration, there is a more rapid deterioration of vision, often accompanied by distortion of straight lines, or by the appearance of a blind spot at or near the center of the visual field. The sudden onset of vision loss is caused by a hemorrhage or fluid leakage close to or into the area of central vision.
Many recent studies confirm that taking Macular Protective Vitamins (A, C, E, Zinc, Copper, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Omega 3 Fatty Acids) significantly reduce the rate of deterioration and can even improve visual acuity. Many patients also benefit from low vision aids.