InSite Vision, Inc.
Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration

The macula is a special area of the retina that contains the highest concentration of protective pigment and photoreceptors. When light is focused on the macula we are able to detect a clear image in the center of our field of vision. Named for this sensitive region, Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a progressive disease detected by changes in the protective pigments, accumulation of drusen (deposits that build up beneath the retina), degeneration of the photoreceptors and sometimes bleeding in the retina. The disease is most prevalent in patients over 65 years of age.

For clinical purposes, macular degeneration is divided into two categories, wet and dry. The dry form of macular degeneration accounts for 90% of cases and is correlated with heredity and aging. It can progress slowly, usually resulting in a mild loss of peripheral vision. The wet form of macular degeneration accounts for 10% of cases, but poses the greater threat to vision. New and abnormal blood vessels grow out from the choroid, a rich vascular bed that nourishes the retina, and invade the retina. The abnormal blood vessels are thin and leaky. The sites where blood and blood vessels accumulate can form a scar. If the scar is in or near the macula, there will be marked disturbance of vision and possibly blindness.

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