Macular degeneration is caused by the accumulation of damage in the central retina of individuals over the age of 60.
The retina in your eye creates vision through a metabolic process, requiring blood flow and creating waste products. In patients with macular degeneration, this process becomes less efficient, leading to an accumulation of metabolic waste products, inflammation, and decreased blood flow. These changes damage the light-sensitive cells in the retina called photoreceptors.
Macular degeneration can cause severe vision loss in two ways. The first is through the widespread drop out of retinal photoreceptors, called ‘dry’ macular degeneration. The second is through bleeding or swelling in the retina, known as ‘wet’ macular degeneration.
Patients over the age of 60 who experience blurry or distorted central vision are at risk for macular degeneration and should schedule an appointment for a dilated examination with an ophthalmologist.