The diagnosis of macular degeneration is becoming increasingly more common due to patient awareness, physician access, and the relentless graying of the population exponentially increasing the percentage of the population at risk for this condition. Thus, macular degeneration is a formidable challenge to patients, their doctors, and our society as the costs for delivering state-of-the-art care increases secondary to groundbreaking improvements in treatment.
Macular degeneration, also called age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD) or the now discarded term, senile macular degeneration (SMD), describes a variety of pathologic but extremely common conditions that affect the macula, the central portion of the retina responsible for detailed vision and color vision, the vision we use to read, thread a needle, sign a check, or recognize faces. It is the macula that allows humans to see 20/20, or an eagle to spot a small rodent on the ground hundreds of feet below. The retina is the nerve tissue lining the inside wall of the back of the eye consisting of the receptors and nerves that collect and transmit light signals from the eye into the optic nerve, then to the brain for interpretation as our sense of vision. The retina, other than the central macula, is responsible for peripheral vision but not sharp acuity.
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of legal blindness in people older than 55 years in the United States. Age-related macular degeneration affects more than 1.75 million individuals in the United States. Owing to the rapid aging of the U.S. population, this number is expected to increase to almost 3 million by 2020. Because overall life expectancy continues to increase, age-related macular degeneration has become a major public-health concern.
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Doctors Who Treat This Condition
Michael Daun, M.D.
Christopher S. Devine, M.D. F.A.C.S.
Matthew Dykhuizen, M.D.
Faiz M. Khaja, M.D.