Macular Degeneration

The macula is the central area of the thin nerve layer in the back of the eye called the retina. The fovea is located in the center of the macula. This area is responsible for our sharp central vision and for vivid color vision. Macular degeneration is a serious eye disease that can lead to vision loss.


There are two forms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Wet AMD is more serious but also more treatable and far less common. Dry AMD  is more widespread and more difficult to treat. Still, in either case, early detection is absolutely vital to preserving vision.

Most cases of macular degeneration are age-related. After the age of 50, there is an increased risk of developing macular degeneration during each additional decade of life. It is more common in Caucasians with fair skin and lightly colored eyes. Additional risk factors for macular degeneration include smoking, family history of AMD, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.


Wet age-related macular degeneration involves leakage and bleeding in the macula which then can cause contraction and scarring of the macula. Blood vessels break through a layer called Bruch’s membrane and then can leak or bleed. This is termed a choroidal neovascular membrane (CNVM). Wet AMD can cause a relatively sudden and significant loss or distortion of central vision.


Dry age-related macular degeneration is the most common type and represents about 90% of all cases of macular degeneration. Dry AMD involves atrophy and pigmentary changes in the macula. Often drusen or yellow-white spots are present and located beneath the retina. Mild cases may be asymptomatic, but if the atrophy affects the fovea it may cause blurred central vision and central blind spots.

No matter which form of macular degeneration you have, it is important to be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.



Wet AMD can be managed with medication, laser, or a combination of both modalities.

Our knowledgeable and experienced retinal specialists provide the latest treatment modalities for Wet AMD including  laser therapy and intravitreal injections of Anti-VEGF agents, such as Lucentis, Avastin, and Eyelea.



There is no cure or treatment for Dry AMD, although vitamins, antioxidants and zinc may be beneficial in slowing the progression of the disease. Over time, it is possible for the dry form to change to the wet form of the disease. This usually involves a sudden change in vision or central distortion, and should be evaluated as soon as possible.