alarm-ringing ambulance angle2 archive arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up at-sign baby baby2 bag binoculars book-open book2 bookmark2 bubble calendar-check calendar-empty camera2 cart chart-growth check chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up circle-minus circle city clapboard-play clipboard-empty clipboard-text clock clock2 cloud-download cloud-windy cloud clubs cog cross crown cube youtube diamond4 diamonds drop-crossed drop2 earth ellipsis envelope-open envelope exclamation eye-dropper eye facebook file-empty fire flag2 flare foursquare gift glasses google graph hammer-wrench heart-pulse heart home instagram joystick lamp layers lifebuoy link linkedin list lock magic-wand map-marker map medal-empty menu microscope minus moon mustache-glasses paper-plane paperclip papers pen pencil pie-chart pinterest plus-circle plus power pushpin question rain reading receipt recycle reminder sad shield-check smartphone smile soccer spades speed-medium spotlights star-empty star-half star store sun-glasses sun tag telephone thumbs-down thumbs-up tree tumblr twitter user users wheelchair write yelp youtube

Macular Degeneration

(the following is taken from the website of the Macular Degeneration Foundation- www.eyesite.org)
What is macular degeneration?
In macular degeneration, the light-sensing cells of the macula mysteriously malfunction and may over time cease to work. Macular degeneration occurs most often in people over 60 years old, in which case it is called Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD). Much less common are several hereditary forms of macular degeneration, which usually affect children or teen-agers. Collectively, they are called Juvenile Macular Degeneration. They include Best’s Disease, Stargardt’s Disease, Sorsby’s Disease and some others.

How is macular degeneration diagnosed?
The major symptoms of macular degeneration are:

1) When viewing an Amsler grid, some straight lines appear wavy, and some patches of the grid appear blank.

2) When visual acuity is measured with a Snellen chart, visual acuity has typically declined by at least 2 lines (e.g. 20/20 -> 20/80) if macular degeneration has occurred.

3) In dry macular degeneration, drusen spots are evident in fundus photographs (i.e. photographs of the retina).

4) In wet macular degeneration, when angiography is performed, leakage of the indicator dye into the bloodstream is seen from blood vessels behind the macula.

5) When an electroretinogram is performed, the electrical signal obtained when a point in the macula is illuminated, is weaker or absent compared to a normal eye.

6) Visual acuity and color sensitivity are similar for the three primary colors, red, green and blue.

What are dry and wet macular degeneration?
About 85 – 90% of ARMD cases are the dry, or atrophic, form, in which yellowish spots of fatty deposits called drusen appear on the macula. The rest of ARMD cases are the wet form, so called because of leakage into the retina from newly forming blood vessels in the choroid, a part of the eye behind the retina. Normally, blood vessels in the choroid bring nutrients to, and carry waste products away from, the retina. Sometimes the fine blood vessels in the choroid underlying the macula begin to proliferate, a process called choroidal neovascularization, or CNV. The cause is unknown. When those blood vessels proliferate, they leak, and cells in the macula are damaged and killed. The principal symptom of macular degeneration is reduction or loss of central vision, with retention of peripheral vision.

Early detection of changes from dry to wet is the key to effective treatment.