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What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

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What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Edward Gruber, CN

In AMD, the light-sensing cells in the central area of vision (macula) deteriorate and eventually die. Symptoms of AMD include blurred or fuzzy vision, the illusion that straight lines (such as sentences on a page) are wavy, and the appearance of a dark or empty area in the center of vision. People with AMD typically have difficulty recognizing faces, reading, or performing any activity that requires the eyes to focus.

Researchers believe that, in addition to age, oxidative stress and exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun may be important factors in causing AMD. Other risk factors that have been identified include light-colored iris, female gender, family history, smoking and a diet high in fats and deficient in carotenoids (natural pigments found in foods that help protect the eye from damaging sunlight) and other anti-oxidants.

Two cardiovascular risk factors—elevated CRP and elevated homocysteine—have also been associated with an increased risk for AMD.