Macular Degeneration is a disorder that includes a variety of eye diseases that affect central vision. Central vision is what you see directly in front of you rather than what you see at the side (periphery) of your vision. The cells of the macula (the central portion of the retina) deteriorate and break down. The “dry” (atrophic) form is a gradual process as the patient ages and accounts for about 9 in 10 cases of Macular Degeneration. The “wet” (exudative) form accounts for about 1 in 10 cases but can cause serious loss of vision in months, even weeks. Wet MD follows in cases of Dry MD when abnormal blood vessels growing in the back of the eye break and leak blood and fluid under the macula.
Although the causes of Macular Degeneration are not well-defined, it is more likely to occur in white persons over 50 years of age, in persons who smoke and in persons with a close family member with MD. There is not currently a cure for Macular Degeneration, but there are treatments that can slow vision loss, and the earlier the detection, the better the chances of successful treatment.
Some studies have indicated that a diet high in green, leafy vegetables and certain vitamins can help slow the effects of age-related macular degeneration. There are experimental surgical treatments, such as, the Implantation of a telescopic lens where a surgeon would implant an artificial lens during cataract surgery; Submacular Surgery, another experimental surgery to remove the abnormal blood vessels or blood; and Retinal Translocation, a procedure to destroy abnormal blood vessels that are located directly under the center of the macula.