Advanced Macular Degeneration - What Is It and Will I Develop It?
Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a general term for many different conditions affecting the macula, the center of the retina. Vision changes can range from mild symptoms such as the need for more light to more severe vision loss such as a large blind spot right in the middle of one's vision.
The macular degeneration symptoms a person experiences correlates with the stage of their macular degeneration. Not only should you ask your doctor what type of macular degeneration you have, but also ask what stage it is in.
Macular Degeneration Stages
The stages of AMD are early macular degeneration, intermediate and advanced. In the early stage, an eye doctor will see small yellow-white deposits called macular drusen during the retina exam.
At this stage there are usually no noticeable vision changes. However at the next stage, intermediate macular degeneration, symptoms are present such as the need for more light, vision is not as sharp and crisp and a blurred spot may appear right in the middle of one's vision.
In the intermediate stage the drusen have become larger and and there may be more of them. Other changes in the layers of the retina also contribute to the degeneration of photoreceptor cells which leads to these new symptoms.
Advanced Macular Degeneration
Most people associate severe vision loss with wet macular degeneration, however the advanced form of dry macular degeneration, called geographic atrophy can also result in vision loss that affects one's quality of life.
Just as there is central vision loss with wet macular degeneration, a person with geographic atrophy will experience a blurred spot also in the center of their vision.
This spot can become bigger and darker as the macular degeneration progresses. Much of the research for dry AMD is focusing on geographic atrophy and the processes that are involved in the progression of this retinal disease.
Learn about this type of advanced AMD, what it looks like, and some of the current clinical trials for geographic atrophy by going to:
Advanced Macular Degeneration and Geographic Atrophy
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Thanks for your help! Leslie
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Leslie Degner, RN, BSN
Better Health for Better Vision