Age related macular degeneration is a disease of the retina and the underlying pigmented cells. The pigmented cells accumulate waste products, clump together, and lose the ability to support the retina. The retina overlying the damaged pigmented cells then dies off. This type of retinal damage is called dry macular degeneration
Occasionally, abnormal blood vessels grow through the layer of clumped pigmented cells. These vessels bleed and leak fluid, causing vision loss. Abnormal new vessel growth signifies wet macular degeneration.
Patients with mild dry macular degeneration may describe a fuzzy spot in the center of their vision. Wet macular degeneration may also cause distortion of straight objects making them appear bent or wavy. In advanced macular degeneration there may be a central blind spot, though peripheral vision typically is unaffected.
Treatment of dry macular degeneration often involves high dose antioxidant vitamins. Wet macular degeneration may be treated with a hot or cold laser or medication injections within the eye.