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Macular degeneration (also called AMD and ARMD, 

or age-related macular degeneration)

 is an age-related 

condition in which the most sensitive part of the 

retina, called the macula. The macula is responsible 

for central vision – the part of our sight we use to 

read, drive and recognize faces. Although a person’s 

peripheral vision is left unaffected by AMD, the 

most important aspect of vision is lost. AMD is 

the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in 

Americans of ages 65 and older. 
The Two Forms of AMD
Macular Degeneration is classified as either Dry (non-neovascular) or 

Wet (neovascular). The dry form of AMD is more common; about 85% 

to 90% of all cases of macular degeneration are Dry. 
Dry AMD is an early stage of the disease, and may result from the  

aging and thinning of macular tissues, depositing of pigment in the 

macula, or a combination of the two processes. Wet AMD is the more 

advanced and damaging stage of the disease. In about 10% of cases,  

Dry AMD progresses to Wet AMD. 
Macular Degeneration Signs and Symptoms
AMD usually produces a slow, painless loss of vision. Early signs of 

vision loss associated with it can include seeing shadowy areas in your 

central vision or experiencing unusually fuzzy or distorted vision. 

An eyecare practitioner usually can detect early signs of AMD before 

symptoms occur. Usually this is accomplished through a retinal exam-

ination via dilation, Optomap, or other retinal imaging devices.
Who Gets Macular Degeneration?
Besides affecting older individuals, AMD appears to occur in whites 

and females in particular. Other risk factors for AMD include smoking, 

family history, high blood pressure, lighter eye color, and obesity.
How is Macular Degeneration Treated?
There is as yet no outright cure for AMD, but some treatments may 

delay its progression and even improve vision. Nutritional interven-

tion is highly recommended for at risk patients and patients with 

the Dry form. For Wet AMD, there are several FDA-approved drugs 

aimed at stopping abnormal blood vessel growth and vision loss from 

the disease. However the future does look bright, the FDA has recently 

approved Advanced Cell Technology (ACTC) to begin clinical trials of 

human-embryonic stem cell for the treatment of AMD.

Macular Degeneration

by Dr. Dipak R. Kalani

Dr. Kalani, a Shadow Creek resident, is an 

Optometrist and owner of Vision Source Family 

Eye Care.  For more information on healthy eye 

exams or to schedule an appointment, call 

713-436-7544 or request an eye exam online at  

www.visionsource-shadowcreek.com.

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