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Aging-Related Diseases Eye - Age-related Macular Degeneration

clinical vision central acute laser

Macular degeneration (the macula is the very central part of the seeing eye) is a common cause of impaired vision in older adults, and often progresses to cause legal blindness. Two types of macular degeneration predominate. The acute "exudative" (wet) form results from proliferation of blood vessels in the macula that subsequently bleed, causing a hemorrhage and scarring in this area. This acute process has devastating effects on vision. In a small percentage of cases (10–15 percent), treatment with either a "hot laser" or, more recently, a combination of a "cold laser" and photodynamic dye, can stabilize the condition and preserve vision.

The more common form of macular degeneration is the slowly progressive atrophic type. While there is no treatment for this form, the clinical development is much slower, and a reasonable degree of vision is often maintained for many years despite the presence of the atrophic lesions in the macula.

Since the macula is necessary for central (in contrast to peripheral) vision, decreased visual acuity and, especially, distortion of the central part of the visual field are important symptoms of this disorder.

Aging-Related Diseases Eye - Cataracts [next] [back] Aging-Related Diseases Eye - Glaucoma

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