What is Age Related Macular Degeneration?

(L) Normal vision (R) Age-related Macular Degeneration

The retina is a thin layer of photoreceptors (light sensors), that lines the inside of the eye. It is responsible for collecting information from light and sending it on to the brain.

As the aging process progresses, the retina and supporting structures break down leading to two forms of macular degeneration, non-exudative (dry) and exudative (wet).

Non-exudative age-related macular degeneration consists of drusen under the retina, loss of photoreceptors, and scaring.

Exudative age-related macular degeneration has additional changes such as abnormal blood vessel growth, edema, and bleeding.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Symptoms

Distortion: Swelling and scaring can disrupt the normal position of the photoreceptors relative to each other. This may cause lines to appear bent when they are actually straight.

Scotoma (blind spot): Sections of the vision are missing because of the disruption of sensors in whole regions.

Blurred Vision: As photoreceptors are lost contrast sensitivity is reduced. It becomes harder to for the brain to make sense of the information coming to it. To work around this age induced limitation people often use brighter light and more magnification.

Talk with your ophthalmologist if you are experience any of these symptoms.