When you develop Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) you lose the ability to see fine details, both close-up and at a distance. This affects only your central vision, and your side, or peripheral, vision usually remains normal. For example, when people with AMD look at a clock, they can see the clock’s outline but cannot tell what time it is; similarly, they gradually lose the ability to recognise people’s faces.
There are two types of AMD. Most people (about 75%) have a form called “early” or “dry” AMD, which develops when there is a build-up of waste material under the macula and thinning of the retina at the macula. Most people with this condition have near normal vision or milder sight loss.
A minority of patients with early (dry) AMD can progress to the vision-threatening forms of AMD called late AMD.
The commonest form of late AMD is “exudative” or “wet” AMD. Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the retina. These unhealthy vessels leak blood and fluid, which can prevent the retina from working properly. Eventually the bleeding and scarring can lead to severe permanent loss of central vision, but the eye is not usually at risk of losing all vision (going ‘blind’) as the ability to see in the periphery remains.
If you’d like to know more about the treatments available for AMD, or would like Mr Gazzard to recommend an AMD specialist for you, please get in touch here.