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Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration: Putting It All Together

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Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here is a summary of the important facts and information related to macular degeneration.

  • Macular degeneration is an eye disease that causes the loss of the sharp, central vision needed for many daily tasks.
  • Macular degeneration most often occurs as people age, although a form of it can affect children.
  • Symptoms of macular degeneration include fuzzy or blurry vision, an empty or dark area in the center of your vision, straight lines such as telephone poles or sentences on a page that appear to be wavy, and a dimming of vision when reading.
  • The two types of age-related macular degeneration are dry AMD and wet AMD. Wet AMD causes most of the blindness that can result from macular degeneration.
  • There is no proven treatment for dry AMD, but because it can progress to the more serious wet AMD, regular eye exams are important.
  • In its early stages, wet AMD can be treated with laser surgery or photodynamic therapy.
  • Laser therapy involves using a laser beam to destroy new blood vessels growing in the eye. The goal is to prevent additional loss of vision.
  • Photodynamic therapy involves injecting the patient with a special drug that flows into the abnormal blood vessels in the eye. A special laser focused on these vessels causes a chemical reaction that destroys abnormal vessels.
  • New surgical techniques and new medications are under investigation to treat macular degeneration.




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From Andrew Maynard - Chair of the University of Michigan Department of Environmental Health Sciences, with help from David Faulkner - 2013 Master of Public Health graduate.