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About Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a progressive eye disease that affects the tiny, central part of the retina called the macula at the back of the eye and can cause loss of central vision. It is the leading cause of vision loss in people over 40.

Right half of image is close up of human eye looking to the left. On the left, white text on dark blue background reads, "Macular Degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss in the United States and around the world."

According to the World Health Organization ‘s (WHO) 2020 World Vision Report, roughly 196 million people globally are known to have macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration can occur in either or both eyes. The disease can develop at any age, but is far more common in people over 60 which is why it is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration, or AMD for short. There is also a juvenile form of macular degeneration that has different causes called Stargardt’s Disease.

AMD does not affect peripheral (side) vision and does not result in total blindness. However, progressive central vision loss can seriously impact everyday life for AMD patients. Those with more serious vision loss experience difficulty with reading, driving, seeing and recognizing faces, playing sports, close-up work, watching television, daily functional needs like cooking, selecting clothing, hygiene, and really, any activity requiring central vision, which is most.

The exact causes of macular degeneration are still being researched, and currently there is no cure. Over the last 20 years, much progress has been made in understanding the mechanisms of this progressive eye disease leading to better long-term vision outcomes for many patients. Early detection is key to managing the condition.

What is Macular Degeneration?
This entire site is dedicated to information regarding Macular Degeneration, but this page will give you a quick general overview to get you oriented.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?
Age-related Macular Degeneration is often detected in an eye exam, before the symptoms become noticeable. 

What are the Risk Factors?
While the causes of age-related macular degeneration are complex, several of the risk factors are controllable.

Diagnosing AMD
Standard screening tests include the visual acuity exam (the letter chart with an E at the top) and an Amsler grid.