Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss
affecting more Americans
than cataracts and glaucoma combined.
Few people are aware that macular degeneration is an incurable eye disease and that it is the leading cause of vision loss for those aged 55 and older in the United States, affecting more than 10 million Americans.
Macular degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. The retina's central portion, known as the macula, is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye, and it controls our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces or colors, and see objects in fine detail.
As people age, their chances for developing eye diseases increase dramatically. Unfortunately, the specific factors that cause macular degeneration are not conclusively known and research into this little-understood disease is limited by insufficient funding.
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According to polls, Americans dread blindness more than any other disability. Recent studies indicate that by the year 2025, the population of people over the age of 65 in the United States will be six times higher than in 1990. "As 'baby boomers' age and a higher percentage of Americans reach age 60, AMD will become an even more serious medical issue," said Dr Carl Kupfer, [former] director of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.
The former Director of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, has stated that macular degeneration will soon take on aspects of an epidemic.
"The prevalence of AMD is expected to rise to 6.3 million by the year 2030, when even greater percentages of our population will have turned 60."(1.) In January 1997, Dr Carl Kupfer stated publicly that macular degeneration will soon take on aspects of an epidemic.
For demographics in the United States, please see;
The AMDF Web site will help our readers to better understand macular degeneration. To understand macular degeneration, you should have a basic knowledge of the anatomy of a normal human eye.
For an animation showing the loss of central vision from macular degeneration, click here.
There are two basic types of macular degeneration: "dry" and "wet." Approximately 85% to 90% of the cases of macular degeneration are the "dry" (atrophic) type. Approximately 10-15% of the cases of macular degeneration are the "wet" (exudative) type.
1. Recruitment Begins for Study on Age-Related Macular Degeneration, NIH News Wednesday, July 7, 1999.
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