Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease of unknown cause in which damage to a part of the eye called the macula destroys central vision. The macula provides the clear, sharp vision that allows people to focus on what is in front of them.
There are two types of age-related macular degeneration: dry and wet. Dry age-related macular degeneration, the most common form, does not usually cause severe vision loss. Central vision grows dimmer or more blurry as dry age-related macular degeneration progresses. Wet age-related macular degeneration is much less common and much more serious. It can damage the macula quickly and cause rapid and severe loss of central vision.
Both dry and wet age-related macular degeneration cause similar symptoms, including dim or fuzzy central vision, objects appearing distorted or smaller than they are, a blank or blind spot in the central field of vision, and straight lines appearing wavy or curved. In dry age-related macular degeneration, changes in vision may occur so slowly that they are not noticed. In wet age-related macular degeneration, symptoms appear suddenly, get worse rapidly, and often lead to severe central vision loss.
Last Revised: July 20, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Steven T. Charles, MD - Ophthalmology
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