Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common reason for vision loss in people over the age of 60 in the western world.
The macula is a tiny area of retina that is especially important for visual acuity.
Pathological changes or inflammation in this area can cause minor to severe vision impairment.
There are two types of age-related macular degeneration:
- Dry AMD
Over 90% of patients with AMD have the dry form of the disorder. It is caused by metabolic disorders under the retina that increasingly restrict the supply of blood to the photoreceptors, which are located in the retina, causing them to waste away slowly many times going unnoticed. As a result, an increasing number of light-sensitive cells are lost in the centre of the retina. The dry form typically progresses unnoticed in a very gradually, and may result in severe vision loss. For patients with dry AMD, only very limited treatment options are available at the present time.
- Wet AMD
In contrast, wet AMD takes a much more rapid and aggressive course than the dry form. In the wet form of AMD, pathologically changed blood vessels grow from the choroid into the retina, as well as into the area of the macula. The collection of vascular fluid or blood causes swelling in the retina, distorted vision and blind spots. Today, there are various options for therapy if diagnosed and treated early.
Possible examination methods: Angiography (photography that highlights blood vessels) and OCT (3-D mapping of the retinal structure) examination (for example, SPECTRALIS)