Age-related macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is a disease of the most central part of the retina called the macula. The macula is the area responsible for visual acuity and most of colour vision.
The cause of age-related macular degeneration is not known precisely but several risk factors have been identified. Symptoms of age-related macular degeneration include visual impairment, distortion of straight lines, loss of letters in words, disturbed colour vision and a grey area in the centre of the visual field. There are two types of age-related macular degeneration: dry and wet. Both affect central vision. In about 80 to 90% of patients the disease is of the milder, dry type. In most cases, there is no treatment available for this type of disease.
Wet age-related macular degeneration usually develops very quickly, affecting vision as soon as in a few weeks. The treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration aims at maintaining visual acuity by stopping or slowing down the progression of the disease. As changes that have already taken place cannot be reversed, it is important to diagnose and treat wet age-related macular degeneration as early as possible.