Macular degeneration, or Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD), is a disease of the macula. The macula is the functional center of the retina. The retina is the light sensitive tissue that lines the inside of our eyes.
The macula is the only part of the retina that is sensitive enough to give us 20/20 vision and to see colors well. It is that part of the retina we use when staring at something. It is that part of the retina that allows us to read and watch TV. Every other area of the retina serves us with our peripheral, or side, vision.
Types of Macular Degeneration - There are two types of ARMD; "wet" and "dry." Most cases of macular degeneration are "dry," or non-exudative. Vision slowly blurs over the years, in both eyes, but severe vision loss is less common. There is no cure or treatment for dry macular degeneration.
"Wet" macular degeneration is defined by the presence of abnormal blood vessels that develop, or grow, in between the layers of the retina. Vision loss typically is more rapid and severe than the dry counterpart. There is treatment for the "wet," or exudative, form of ARMD.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration usually include blurry vision, distortion and dark spots in the vision. The disease usually affects both eyes and can affect those above the age of 55. There is a large correlation with those of northern European ancestry. There is an association with smokers and the wet form.
Eye Injections - There is no cure for either form of the disease. While there is a treatment for the "wet" form, this should not be misconstrued as a cure. The most popular treatment for the wet form is intraocular injections of medications which block the activity of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). These anti-VEGF compounds neutralize this growth factor limiting further damage to the retina and, many times, allow some improvement in vision.