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).

References in periodicals archive ?
Cone- and rod-mediated dark adaptation impairment in age-related maculopathy.
Development of a questionnaire to assess vision problems under low luminance in age-related maculopathy.
The results of this study suggest that subjects with age-related maculopathy were less likely to have filled a statin prescription.
Age-related maculopathy in a multiracial United States population: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III.
Two large, important studies, the Beaver Dam Eye Study and the Salisbury Eye Evaluation project revealed the link between lifetime sun exposure and the development of early age-related maculopathy as well as cataracts.
The defects -- caused by syndromes such as age-related maculopathy and retinitis pigmentosa -- affect the eye's retina and leave patients with part of their visual field missing or distorted.
The Beaver Dam Eye Study, based in Wisconsin, provided epidemiologic evidence of a significant relationship between extended exposure to the sun and the incidence of early age-related maculopathy (ARM), while a study of watermen in Chesapeake Bay found an increased incidence of severe AMD among those exposed to higher levels of blue and visible light over the previous 20 years.
Carotenoids and antioxidants in age-related maculopathy italian study: multifocal electroretinogram modifications after 1 year.