Macular Degeneration – The Main Cause of Impaired Vision in Old Age
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in old age, accounting for 50% of all cases worldwide. This disease mainly occurs from the mid-50s onwards.
In the age group between 65 and 75 years there are about 20% affected people. It progresses gradually, chronically, without pain and is often recognised late.
What exactly is macular degeneration?
From a medical point of view, macular degeneration (age-related macular degeneration AMD) is a disease of the retina of the eye in the area of the so-called “yellow spot”. In this area there is also the “point of sharpest vision”.
Impairments in this area will initially lead to impaired vision and a decrease in visual acuity in the central area of the visual field.
This is caused by the destruction of pigment epithelial cells in the macula. This is a cell layer in our retina in the eye, which supplies the light-sensitive photoreceptors with important nutrients via its vessels.
If these die, none or only reduced light impressions can be absorbed and processed in the affected areas.
The typical symptom of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the lack of certain image content, especially in the central visual area. When reading, letters or words seem to be missing. The outlines of a person’s head are visible, but not the face itself. Straight lines, such as fences or house walls, appear bent or curved.
If you notice these symptoms, you should go to an eye doctor immediately.
The Amsler-Grid-Test for the diagnosis of macular degeneration
There is also a test that you can carry out yourself: the Amsler-Grid-Test (also Amsler Net). This is a square grid pattern with a dot in the centre. With healthy eyes and a healthy retina, all parts of the grid are visible and appear straight.
If the grid pattern has holes, dark spots or curved lines, then it is very likely that macular degeneration (AMD) is in its early stages. In this case you should also consult an ophthalmologist.