There are two types of Age-related Macular Degeneration or AMD. ‘Dry’ AMD and ‘Wet’ AMD.
What causes Age Related Macular Degeneration?
To explain the causes of macular degeneration, I’ll first explain how the eye is made up.
Light enters the eye through the clear outer layer (the ‘cornea’), then passes through the lens where it is focussed onto a sharp image onto the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye called the ‘retina’. As you can see the eye is very much like a camera and the ‘retina’ is equivalent to the film or sensor in a camera.
The macula is a small area in the centre of the retina which is the most sensitive to detail – it allows you to thread a needle and read fine print; and anything you look directly at is seen at that spot.
Any problem affecting the macula will result in problems of detail and central vision.
The most common problem with the Macula is age-related Macular Degeneration or AMD.
There are many causes of damage to the macula, such as the formation of deposits called drusen in the macula, or occasionally the growth of new blood vessels under the retina. The commonest problem I see is damage to the macula caused by changes from getting older – in other words Age-related Macular Degeneration.
Are you at greater risk for AMD?
You have a higher risk for AMD if you:
- Are older.
- Are female.
- Have relatives with AMD.
- Are white (caucasian).
If you are over 50 or have any of the risk factors of AMD, you should have your eyes regularly examined by an ophthalmologist.