Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of vision loss in people aged over 50 years. As we get older, the macula (the central part of the retina responsible for detailed vision), can begin to break down, causing blurred vision. There are three main types of AMD: Dry, Wet and End-Stage.
Dry AMD is the most common type as it accounts for around 90% of all cases. In dry AMD the cells of the macula slowly break down, causing vision to become blurred. The symptoms of dry AMD tend to develop slowly and gradually get worse over time. The most common symptom is a slight blurring of the central vision or experiencing difficulty reading. Dry AMD generally affects both eyes, but vision can be affected more in one eye than the other and it affects central rather than peripheral vision.
Wet AMD accounts for around 10% of all AMD cases. Wet AMD is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina. These new blood vessels leak fluid into the retina and cause distortion of vision and scarring at the back of the eye. Symptoms of wet AMD include sudden loss of vision or noticing that straight lines suddenly appear wavy or distorted. Anyone noticing these symptoms should visit an eye care practitioner immediately since timely treatment may help restore or maintain vision.
End-Stage AMD is the most advanced form of the disease and the leading cause of irreversible vision loss and legal blindness in individuals aged over 65 years.
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