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About age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
AMD is a chronic condition that causes central vision loss. Millions of Americans have AMD, and it is a leading cause of blindness in people aged 60 and older. There are 2 forms of AMD—wet and dry. Dry AMD is more common—more than 8 out of 10 AMD patients have dry AMD. How many people have wet AMD? About 1 in 10 of those with dry AMD will get wet AMD, and about 200,000 people are diagnosed with wet AMD every year.
Dry AMD: the most common form of AMD
Dry AMD occurs when cells under the macula break down and create drusen. Drusen are yellow deposits under the retina. For some people, drusen can cause you to lose vision. Others may have little or no change. Sometimes, dry AMD goes unnoticed, so it's important to have your eyes examined regularly.
Symptoms of dry AMD may include:
Print appearing more and more blurry
Colors appearing less bright
Wet AMD: the most serious form of AMD
Wet AMD occurs when certain proteins cause abnormal blood vessel growth in the back of the eye. As the blood vessels grow, they can leak blood and fluid, which damage the macula—the part of the retina that lets you see the color and fine detail. This is how the condition can cause central vision loss.
Symptoms of wet AMD may include:
Straight lines or faces appear wavy
Doorways seeming crooked
A central blurry or blind spot
AMD can occur in 1 eye or both
If you have AMD in 1 eye, it's important to carefully monitor the other eye. That's because there's a 50% chance you will develop AMD in your other eye within 5 years. For this reason, tell your eye doctor about any vision changes.
Common risk factors of AMD are:
Age: being 60 years of age or older
Family history/genetics: if AMD runs in your family or you have a certain abnormal gene
Gender: women are more likely to get AMD
Low levels of zinc and vitamins A, C, and E
Cardiovascular disease: if you have high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and heart disease
with chest pain
Race: AMD is more common among white people
Lucentis is an FDA-approved treatment for wet AMD.