Macular degeneration is a progressive eye condition affecting as many as 15 million Americans. The disease attacks the macula of the eye, where our sharpest central vision occurs, affecting reading, driving, identifying faces, watching television, safely navigating stairs and performing other daily tasks. Although it rarely results in complete blindness, it robs the individual of all but the outermost, peripheral vision, leaving only dim images or black holes at the center of vision.
Source: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health
In this simulation you can experience the deterioration of vision of a person with AMD.
As the disease progresses the area of color and central vision deteriorates and the gradual destruction of light sensitive cells continues until large areas are totally gone. Peripheral vision remains, but the ability to clearly see straight ahead and to see color is lost.
For many people, the first sign of macular degeneration is something they notice themselves. Straight lines like doorways or telephone wires may appear wavy or disconnected. When you look at a person, her face may be blurred while the rest of her is in focus. Lines of print may be blurred in the center or the lines may be crooked. For some people, there is a sudden blurring or loss of sight in the center of vision. For any sudden change, you should contact your ophthalmologist immediately.
There are several forms of macular degeneration, but the fastest growing form is age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
- AMD is the number one cause of severe vision loss and legal blindness in adults over 60 in the U.S.
- As many as 15 million Americans and millions more worldwide have signs of AMD
- 200,000 new cases of AMD are diagnosed each year in the United States
- As the “baby boomers” advance into their 60’s and 70’s, it will reach epidemic proportions.
- 14%-24% of the U.S. population aged 65-74 years and 35-40% of people aged 75 years or more have the disease.
- There are two types of AMD – “wet” or neovascular and “dry” or atrophic.
- There is no cure for AMD, but new treatments are available for the wet form of the disease. There is currently no treatment for the dry form.