macular degeneration

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macular degeneration,

eye disorder causing loss of central vision. The affected area, the macula, lies at the back of the retina and is the part that produces the sharpest vision. The most serious visual impairment occurs when abnormal blood vessels form and leak serous fluid or bleed into the tissue of the macula, ultimately producing scar tissue. Peripheral (side) vision is unaffected. Onset may be acute with hemorrhage but usually is gradually progressive. Although some vision is retained, the ability to read, recognize faces, and drive a motor vehicle is greatly reduced. The condition is painless.

Macular degeneration is a major cause of vision impairment among elderly people. Although its underlying cause is unknown, it sometimes appears to run in families. Serious macular degeneraton, if diagnosed early, may have its progress stemmed by laser or photodynamic (cold laser and drug) treatment that closes leaking vessels. Antiangiogenic drugs, which inhibit the formation of new blood vessels, can be injected into the eye to stop degeneration and in some cases even improve vision. Sudden change in vision in someone over age 50 thus requires immediate medical attention.


See H. Grunwald, Twilight: Losing Sight, Gaining Insight (1999).

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References in periodicals archive ?
In our prospective study that lasted for 2 years, we enrolled 44 eyes of 27 patients (20 female and 7 male patients) having dry drusiform ARMD. In 17 patients, both eyes (left and right) were enrolled in the trial, while in another 10 patients we enrolled just one eye.
The results from a second study, AREDS 2, found that adding omega-3 fatty acids to the formulation had no additional effect on the risk of ARMD. Eliminating beta-carotene and adding lutein/zeaxanthin was found to be a safe and effective alternative to the use of beta-carotene.
High levels in serum of apolipoprotein B were related to inflammation and accumulation of drusen in the retina of patients suffering from wet ARMD [22].
Seddon et al reported an association between dietary intake of L and Z around 6 mg per day and a decreased risk of ARMD (Seddon, Ajani, Sperduto, Hiller, Blair, Burton, et al, 1994).
In the study, participants taking high-dose supplements of these nutrients (five to 13 times the Recommended Dietary Allowances) reduced their risk of developing advanced ARMD by 25%.
Previous studies have reported the prevalence of eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, age related macular degeneration (ARMD), and diabetic retinopathy in Hispanic populations living in the continental United States (2,3,4).
We then identified disease cohorts for diabetes mellitus (DM) and ARMD by searching for specific ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes (primary or secondary) on seven different types of Medicare claims files for the period 1984-1999: Carrier (Physician Supplier/Part B, 1991-1999 only), Outpatient, Inpatient, Skilled Nursing, Home Health Agency, and Hospice.
What he and other doctors do know is that smoking, high blood pressure, poor diet and over-exposure to sunlight increase the risk of getting ARMD. (According to the Macular Degeneration Foundation, smoking increases your risk of developing it by four to five times.) There is no cure.
* OUTCOMES MEASURED Two primary outcomes were defined for study eyes in the ARMD trial: (1) progression to advanced ARMD and (2) at least a 15-letter decrease in visual acuity score.
Most people with ARMD find that reading is affected first, along with writing and driving because the macula of the eye, responsible for central vision, goes first.
Some risk factors for ARMD you can't control (family history, older age, and light-colored eyes, skin and hair).