Macular degeneration is a chronic and usually progressive disorder that affects the central part of the retina (the macula) and causes reduced ability to see. Macular degeneration causes a gradual loss of sharp, central vision.
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Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. The frequency of this disorder increases with age. The majority of affected people are between 75-80. Females are slightly affected more than males.
Adult macular degeneration (AMD), which is the most common form of macular degeneration, occurs in two main forms:
Dry Macular Degeneration
Ninety percent of people with AMD have this type. An area of the retina is affected, which leads to slow breakdown of cells in the macula and a gradual loss of central vision. Dry AMD sometimes occurs in one eye first, but usually affects both eyes eventually.
Wet Macular Degeneration
Although only 10% of all people with AMD have this type, it accounts for 90% of all blindness from the disease. As dry AMD progresses, new blood vessels may begin to grow and cause “wet” AMD. These new blood vessels often leak blood and fluid under the macula. This causes rapid damage to the macula that can lead to significant loss of central vision in a short time.
American Macular Degeneration Foundation website. Available at:
Macular Degeneration Foundation website. Available at:
National Eye Institute website. Available at:
Last reviewed [Under Medical Review] by Christopher Cheyer, MD
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