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Age-related Macular Degeneration

Age-related Macular Degeneration: Facts and Figures

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a disease of the retina that affects central vision and can lead to blindness in older people. AMD is the leading cause of legal blindness in Americans age 65 and older. As the population ages, AMD is becoming a more significant public health problem.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Statistics
  • Approximately 1.7 million people in the United States older than 65 suffer from AMD.

  • Women are slightly more likely than men to develop AMD.

  • Some forms of AMD are inherited, thus placing immediate family members at greater risk for developing the disease.
How Age-Related Macular Degeneration Affects Vision Initially, AMD affects the ability of an individual to see details, such as facial features, road signs, and fine print. As the disease progresses, vision may become blurred and gradually worsen, resulting in the loss of central vision.

There are two types of AMD:
  • Dry – 90 percent of individuals with AMD suffer from this form of the disease, which results in degeneration of retinal layers and leads to gradual loss of central vision. These individuals inevitably experience slow, progressive shrinking of the usable retina and severe visual handicaps; most have difficulty performing routine visual tasks such as driving, reading printed material, or recognizing the faces of friends.

  • Wet – Only 10 percent of those with AMD have this type; it accounts, however, for 90 percent of all blindness from the disease. Wet AMD is caused when new blood vessels grow under the retina and leak or bleed, thereby damaging the macula and causing loss of central vision.
For further information about AMD, contact your ophthalmologist or independent optometrist.

Source: National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research


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