Macular degeneration is the third largest cause of blindness in the United States. It is a medical condition that generally affects older adults. The macula is the center area of the retina. It is supplied with blood from the choroid. When the macula deteriorates it is unable to make the images which are sent to the brain. This results in loss of central vision, thus making it difficult or impossible to read and sometimes, even recognize faces.
There are two types of macular degeneration, “dry” and “wet”. Dry macular degeneration is when yellow spots called drusen bubble up out of the choroid and deposit on the retina resulting in a gradual blurring of central vision. Sometimes dry macular degeneration advances to a stage known as geographic atrophy. Geographic atrophy is the culmination of prolonged, progressive changes in the retina and is the main cause of vision loss in dry macular degeneration patients.
Unfortunately, dry macular degeneration can progress to wet macular degeneration. In the wet form, newly created abnormal blood vessels grow under the center of the retina. These blood vessels leak, bleed, and scar the retina. This distorts or destroys central vision. Wet macular degeneration usually starts in one eye and may affect the other eye later.