What Is Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a medical condition results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field (the macula) because of damage to the retina, which usually affects people over the age of 55 and is the leading cause of blindness and effects over 6 million people in the United States. AMD is the degeneration of the central part of the retina called the macula, which is the part of the retina which is responsible for straight ahead vision. Macular degeneration can make it difficult or impossible to read or recognize faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life.

Starting from the inside of the eye outwards, the three main layers of the eye are the retina, which is light-sensitive tissue that is considered part of the central nervous system and is actually brain tissue, the choroid, which contains the blood supply to the eye, and the sclera, which is the white, outer, layer of the eye.

In the dry (nonexudative) form, cellular debris called drusen accumulates between the retina and the choroid, and the retina can become detached. In the wet (exudative) form, which is more severe, blood vessels grow up from the choroid behind the retina, and the retina can also become detached. It can be treated with laser coagulation, and with medication that stops and sometimes reverses the growth of blood vessels.

Although some macular dystrophies affecting younger individuals are sometimes referred to as macular degeneration, the term generally refers to age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD).

Age-related macular degeneration begins with characteristic yellow deposits (drusen) in the macula, between the retinal pigment epithelium and the underlying choroid. Most people with these early changes (referred to as age-related maculopathy) have good vision. People with drusen can go on to develop advanced AMD. The risk is higher when the drusen are large and numerous and associated with disturbance in the pigmented cell layer under the macula. Large and soft drusen are related to elevated cholesterol deposits and may respond to cholesterol-lowering agents.

There is hope for those with macular degeneration though to slow by use of quality AREDS, and AREDS 2 supplements.

Read more on the AREDS 2 Study results, and then view our page of recommended AREDS 2 products.