Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans over age 60, and presents in two forms: Dry Macular Degeneration and Wet Macular Degeneration. Of the two, the “dry” form is far more common, but both affect the center region of the retina called the macula which is responsible for processing the fine details we see.
Dry Macular Degeneration, the most common kind, includes blurry distance and/or reading vision, colors seeming much less vivid and difficulty seeing in dim lighting. In dry AMD, the layers of cells beneath the retina in the macula stop functioning properly. This may result from the aging and thinning of macular tissues, depositing of pigment in the macula, or a combination of the two processes. People with dry macular degeneration often have holes or blank areas in their central vision that can worsen over time.
Wet Macular Degeneration is much more rare, and considered considerably more dangerous as it has a tendency to worsen drastically over an alarmingly short amount of time. Symptoms of this form of macular degeneration are similar to the dry form, and in addition, you may also notice that straight lines seem to be bent or crooked. Wet AMD causes a more rapid loss of vision, sometimes leading to blindness within weeks. This requires the intervention by an experienced ophthalmologist.
No matter which form of macular degeneration you have, it is important to be seen by a doctor as soon as possible to preserve vision.