What Is Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of severe vision loss among people over 60. AMD occurs when the macula, which is located in the center of the retina, begins to degenerate. AMD affects your central vision, so it rarely causes complete blindness, but it can make it difficult to drive, read, recognize faces and perform close-up work that uses sharp, central vision.

There are two primary types of AMD:

  • Dry AMD: Dry AMD occurs as the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly deteriorate, usually in one eye at a time. The cause is unknown. Dry AMD is more common than wet AMD.
  • Wet AMD: Wet AMD occurs when new blood vessels grow beneath the retina, leaking fluid and blood and creating a blind spot in the center of the visual field. This leakage can lead to sudden deterioration of vision. Wet AMD is less common than dry AMD, but it is more likely to cause severe vision loss.