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Healthy Tips

Quick Dose: What Is Macular Degeneration?

It’s the most common cause of severe vision loss among people over the age of 60. Here’s how it occurs.

If you can see the details on this page, you can thank your macula. It’s at the center of your retina and controls how you focus your vision.

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Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the macula. It causes blurred vision, or a blind spot in the center of your field of sight.

This happens in two ways:

Dry

This is the most common form of macular degeneration, accounting for 85 to 90 percent of cases. The light-sensitive cells in the macula deteriorate, usually in one eye at a time. The cause of dry macular degeneration is unknown.

Wet

In this less common form of macular degeneration, blood vessels underneath the retina leak, creating a blind spot in the center of your vision. Wet macular degeneration is more likely to cause severe vision loss.

Read about the risk factors for macular degeneration.

Treatments

There is no treatment for dry macular degeneration, but a diet high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals may help slow the progression.

Treatment options for wet macular degeneration include injections to minimize swelling and laser surgery to seal leaking blood vessels.