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Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) is the most common cause of poor central vision in people over the age of 60 in the United States.  ARMD is a degenerative process affecting the very center of the retina called the macula.  Many people have a mild form of degenerative changes and may not even be aware they have it.  Other people have more severe involvement which limits their vision.

Two Primary Types of ARMD


Characteristic changes found in the retina include tiny yellow spots, called drusen, that are commonly seen in the macula in macula degeneration.  Other typical findings include pigment spots, blister-like changes and thinning of the retina.  Approximately 90% of ARMD patients remain dry.


Approximately 10% of patients develop wet ARMD.  Wet ARMD has many similarities to dry ARMD but has the addition of abnormal blood vessels growing under the retina.  The examination shows signs of this leakage with fluid and hemorrhage in the macula.  Typically the wet form of ARMD is heralded by a sudden change in vision.


Poor central vision is the most prevalent symptom of ARMD.


While there are known genetic predispositions, many people can have macular degeneration without any family history.  ARMD is thought to be “multi-factorial” which means there are many contributing factors:  nutritional, environmental, circulatory and genetic.

Treatment Options

Dry ARMD is treated supportively: exercise, a healthy diet that is low in cholesterol and rich in anti-oxidant foods, blood pressure control and proper vitamin supplements.

Wet ARMD is typically treated with either laser or injections of medicine to stop the blood vessel growth.  The injection treatment generally involves a series of injections; therefore monthly follow up appointments may be necessary until the eye is stabilized.

Low vision aids may be helpful at all stages of macular degeneration.

Many encouraging clinical studies are currently underway for both wet and dry ARMD.  Your Wheaton Eye Clinic ophthalmologist will keep you informed with the latest information.


Wheaton Eye Clinic’s unparalleled commitment to excellence is evident in our continued growth. Today we provide world-class medical and surgical care to patients in six suburban locations—Wheaton, Naperville, Hinsdale, Plainfield, St. Charles, and Bartlett.

(630) 668-8250 (800) 637-1054
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