Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration also referred to as age-related macular degeneration or AMD, is a common ocular health problem that affects the vision of millions of Americans. While it is most often diagnosed in patients over the age of 60, it can also affect patients who are significantly younger. Macular degeneration does not affect the peripheral vision or cause total blindness. However, it does negatively impact the central area of eyesight. This means that everyday activities such as reading, watching television, and even recognizing faces may prove more difficult than they should be.

Types of Macular Degeneration

macular degeneration

Macular degeneration is typically divided into two types. These are known as wet AMD and dry AMD.


Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow into the macula, leaking blood or fluid which then causes scarring and the rapid onset of loss of central vision. The symptoms of wet macular degeneration usually come on over the space of a few weeks or several months.


Dry macular degeneration is the most common variety of the condition and occurs when there is a natural degeneration of the retina, due to cells dying off and not regenerating properly. Dry macular degeneration tends to develop over a series of months and years. However, it is important to note that a small number of patients with dry AMD will subsequently develop the wet version of the condition, and so any sudden changes in your vision should be followed up with an appointment at Progressive Ophthalmology as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

Since macular degeneration affects each person differently, it is often fairly difficult to diagnose. This is especially true for patients with dry AMD, since the symptoms develop gradually. Nevertheless, as the cells begin to deteriorate you may start to notice changes in your vision, including:

  • Dark spots in your central vision

  • Bending of objects that should appear straight (such as lamp posts)

  • Fading colors

  • Blurred vision

  • Trouble adapting from dark to light environments

  • Bright lights may be difficult to tolerate

  • Objects may appear to change in size, shape or color, or may even move or disappear completely

  • Words may seem to disappear while you are reading them

Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration

It is not known exactly why some patients develop macular degeneration and others do not. However, there are some factors which are believed to increase the likelihood of a patient suffering from AMD. These include:

  • Smoking

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Drug use

  • A poor diet lacking in essential vitamins and minerals

  • Insufficient exercise

  • Obesity

It is recommended that all people, regardless of their age or whether they have a family history of AMD, follow a healthy diet with plenty of exercise and low alcohol consumption to minimize the likelihood of developing macular degeneration. Doing so, along with avoiding drug use and smoking, will significantly improve your overall health and well-being, including the health of your eyes.

Can Macular Degeneration be Treated?

macular degeneration test
Patients who are diagnosed with dry AMD will typically be recommended to try various visual aids to help manage symptoms and reduce the effect that it has on their life.

However, if you are diagnosed with wet AMD, you may need regular eye injections to stop your vision from worsening. These injections, known as Anti-VEGF medicines, are delivered directly into the eyes. Alternatively, you may be referred for photodynamic therapy or PDT during which a light is shined at the back of the eyes with the aim of destroying the blood vessels causing the wet AMD.

Dr. Ahdoot will be able to recommend which treatment, if any, is right for you after your consultation appointment.

If you would like more information about macular degeneration, or if you would like to make an appointment to discuss your visual health, call our office today at 718-565-2020.