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 ?
Macular carotenoid levels of normal subjects and age-related maculopathy patients in a Japanese population.
Klein R, Klein BEK, Franke T: The relationship of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors to age-related maculopathy.
of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and his coauthors tested whether p-carotene supplementation affected incident age-related maculopathy (ARM) responsible for a visually significant decrease in best-corrected visual acuity to 20/30 or worse.
A pooled case-control study of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene in age-related maculopathy.
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 dry form, also known as age-related maculopathy, is characterized by the presence of drusen under the RPE that is accompanied by either the loss or focal accumulation of melanin pigment.
Patients with diagnosed choroidal and retinal neovascularisation such as PDR, diabetic macular oedema, central retinal vein occlusion, neovascular glaucoma myopic maculopathy, and age-related maculopathy (wet type) were included in the study.
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 in age-related maculopathy Italian study (CARIS): two-year results of a randomized study.