Age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is an eye disease that is a leading cause of vision loss in older people in developed countries. The vision loss usually becomes noticeable in a person's sixties or seventies and tends to worsen over time.Age-related macular degeneration mainly affects central vision, which is needed for detailed tasks such as reading, driving, and recognizing faces. The vision loss in this condition results from a gradual deterioration of light-sensing cells in the tissue at the back of the eye that detects light and color (the retina). Specifically, age-related macular degeneration affects a small area near the center of the retina, called the macula, which is responsible for central vision. Side (peripheral) vision and night vision are generally not affected, but reduced dim light (scotopic) vision often occurs in the early stages of the disease.Researchers have described two major types of age-related macular degeneration, known as the dry form and the wet form. The dry form is much more common, accounting for 85 to 90 percent of all cases of age-related macular degeneration. It is characterized by a buildup of yellowish deposits called drusen beneath the retina and vision loss that worsens slowly over time. The condition typically affects vision in both eyes, although vision loss often occurs in one eye before the other.The wet form of age-related macular degeneration is associated with severe vision loss that can worsen rapidly. This form of the condition is characterized by the growth of abnormal, fragile blood vessels underneath the macula. These vessels leak blood and fluid, which damages the macula and makes central vision appear blurry and distorted.

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