Age-related Macular Degeneration, or AMD, is a condition of the retina that affects the eye’s central vision. It can cause blind spots and distorted vision.
The mechanisms of vision are often compared to that of a camera. The retina constitutes the back of the eye and is formed by light-sensitive cells, which is equivalent to a photographic film or the sensors in a digital camera. A cluster of light-sensitive cells are grouped together in an area called the macula and provide a special function: our accurate vision (or central vision).
Different types of Age-related Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is an ageing process occurring in the retina which evolves from an initial stage to early, intermediate and advanced forms of the condition
Age-Related Maculopathy (ARM)
ARM corresponds to the earliest stage of the disease. It is caused by the progressive ageing of the retina. Deposits of fatty products, called drusen, accumulate in the outer layers of the retina causing them damage.
Advanced AMD – Dry or atrophic form
The dry form of advanced AMD occurs in the final stages of retinal ageing. The drusen affect the macula to such a degree that they cause irreversible lesions which impair accurate sight (or central vision).
Advanced AMD – Wet or exudative form
In some cases, the atrophy is accompanied by abnormal growth of blood vessels located behind the macula, resulting in a distorted image.
The effect of drusen on vision can vary, from practically unchanged to a gradual loss of central vision acuity.
Advanced forms can lead to scarring in the centre of the macula provoking an irreversible loss of central vision.
How many people does Age-related Macular Degeneration affect?
AMD is estimated to affect around 1.3% of the Spanish population aged 65 to 74 years old and 5.7% of patients over 75, which equates to 485,000 patients.