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No treatment is available for macular degeration

March 03, 2003|by Christine L. Moats

Q: What is age-related macular degeneration?

A: The American Macular Degeneration Foundation Web site states that macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people older than 50, is the deterioration of the retina, the portion of the eye that focuses and records images and transports them to the brain. Macular degeneration, according the National Eye Institute, occurs in two forms, wet and dry. Both forms are completely painless.

Signs of degeneration


Symptoms of dry age-related macular degeneration include:

  • Blurred vision

  • The need for more light when reading or doing other activities

  • The inability to recognize faces until you are very close to them

  • A blind spot


Symptoms of wet age-related macular degeneration are:

  • Rapid loss of central vision

  • Straight lines appear wavy


Available treatments


The National Eye Institute states that there is no treatment for dry age-related macular degeneration. Since dry age-related macular degeneration usually occurs slowly and in one eye at a time, people still retain some vision. Some forms of wet age-related macular degeneration can be treated through laser surgery, but it is not a cure.

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For more information about macular degeneration, visit these sites: the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, www.macular.org/disease.html, and the National Eye Institute, www.nei.nih.gov/health/maculardegen/armd_facts.htm.




Christine L. Moats is a wellness coordinator at Washington County Hospital.

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