Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a disorder of deterioration in the retina that can cause your central vision to become distorted, blurry, and colorless. It is one of the most common conditions retina doctors treat.

What Is Macular Degeneration?

More formally known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), this condition specifically affects the macula, which is at the center of the retina. This part of your retina holds detecting cells that add fine detail and color to your vision. In people aged 60 and older, those cells can deteriorate from changes in the eye associated with macular degeneration so that your central vision becomes blurry and distorted. This condition may begin in one eye, but usually progresses to affect both eyes. While AMD has a definite impact on your vision quality, it doesn’t cause complete blindness.

Common Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

In addition to increasingly poor quality of central vision, patients with AMD most commonly experience:

  • Difficulty recognizing faces
  • A specific blurry or blind spot when looking straight ahead
  • Trouble transitioning from well-lit areas to dimly-lit areas
  • Regularly seeking more light when reading or working up close
  • Distortions such as straight lines appearing bent or round items looking oval shaped

There are two types of age-related macular degeneration: dry and wet.


This is the most common type, affecting about 90% of patients with AMD. Dry AMD is simply a thinning of the macula over time so that your direct line of sight becomes impaired and daily activities such as driving or reading become difficult. Dry AMD does not affect your peripheral vision, which can be disorienting to patients.


The more serious type of macular degeneration, wet AMD, is characterized by the growth of small blood vessels under the macula. These new vessels can leak fluid, which is where this type of AMD gets its name. These blood vessels and leakage can cause sudden vision loss — vision loss that can sometimes be reversed with immediate medical intervention. Patients with dry AMD can develop wet AMD.

AMD Treatment

In its earliest stages, AMD’s symptoms can be almost imperceptible, so it’s imperative that patients over age 50 have dilation as part of their annual eye exams. This allows your doctor to identify AMD in its earliest stages, increasing treatment options and effectiveness.

Like all conditions, AMD’s treatment is most effective when it’s tailored to the specific patient. If you suspect you may have macular degeneration, contact Vance Thompson Vision to begin care as soon as possible.

Currently, there’s no cure for dry or wet AMD; however, researchers achieve breakthroughs every day. We’re hopeful a cure is not only possible, but coming soon. In the meantime, there are ways for the team at Vance Thompson Vision to help support patients affected by AMD.

Treatments for AMD can include a combination of dietary supplements, injections, and/or laser procedures. While these cannot restore vision that’s already lost, they can help maintain your current level of vision.

Our retina specialist, Dr. Jed Assam, and his team carefully evaluate treatments for their safety and efficacy and are dedicated to staying current on the latest technology.

Monitor Your Vision at Home

Patients with macular degeneration can monitor their vision by downloading and printing their own Amsler chart. Post yours in an easy-to-see place such as your refrigerator for a daily check of your visual acuity. Step-by-step instructions are included with your download.


What to Expect

Retina care is usually a process that spans months and even years. Treatment is customized by our retina care team to fit your unique eyes, and over time, they will adjust your care plan based on how your retina condition responds.

The first step to addressing age-related macular degeneration is a consultation during which extensive testing and measurements will be performed on your eyes. Based on your test results, the doctor will meet with you to recommend the best options to preserve your vision.

Generally, patients do not experience significant, if any, pain from AMD or its treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the macula, which is at the center of your retina. This condition affects the quality of your central vision, which you use to read and see colors.

Is macular degeneration hereditary?

Yes, research does show a link between genetics and AMD. Studies are under way to better understand this connection. Knowing if AMD runs in your family is helpful as it can give you a head start when it comes to prevention and identifying other risk factors.

Can AMD be healed naturally?

Healthy nutrition is good for every aspect of the body, including your eyes. While there are some supplements like the AREDS 2 vitamin that may support your vision and have been shown to reduce the progression of AMD, there’s currently no way to recover vision that’s already been lost or to cure macular degeneration.

Can you go blind from macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration does not cause complete blindness but, as the condition progresses, it can make it very difficult to perform everyday tasks such as driving, cooking, recognizing faces, or reading.

What causes macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration is caused by a combination of factors including aging, genetics, smoking, diet, and weight to name a few.

Can macular degeneration be reversed?

At this time, AMD cannot be reversed. It can, however, be managed so that its progression slows, and in some cases, stops. Research uncovers exciting advancements every year, and Vance Thompson Vision is hopeful that AMD will be among those with a breakthrough treatment soon.

Is AMD covered by insurance?

Treatment and care of age-related macular degeneration is usually covered by insurance as it’s generally categorized medically necessary.

Ready for help?

Early intervention truly is the best treatment. Call our friendly, professional team today to schedule your retina consultation.

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