Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
This chronic disease occurs when macular tissue deteriorates with age. The result can be blurred central vision and possibly a blind spot in your central field of view. Initially, changes due to AMD are seen as small deposits (drusen) that form in the macula area. Often, this dry phase of the disease progresses very slowly.
In some people, as disease progresses, a complication called wet disease develops. This occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. Vision loss is usually rapid and severe in wet disease because the retina’s light-sensitive cells are damaged. Central vision may be reduced or lost. There are steps that may help slow the progress of dry AMD. Recently, injections of factors into the gel of the eye which inhibit blood vessel growth have been shown to limit the damage caused by wet macular degeneration. High blood pressure is associated with a more rapid progression of AMD. Smoking is associated with worse disease and greater risk of vision loss. A large, multi-center study found that vitamins and minerals appear to slow disease progression in people with intermediate and advanced AMD. The risk of progressive vision loss was reduced by about 25 percent when a combination of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and zinc were taken.