What is retinal degeneration?


Quick Answer

Retinal degeneration or macular degeneration is a name for a group of degenerative diseases that affects the retinal pigment epithelium, which is the small, central portion of the retina of the eye that deteriorates and causes vision loss in over 10 million Americans, according to the Macular Disease Foundation. There are two common types of macular degeneration, wet and dry; “wet” affects up to 95 percent of people and “dry” causes vision loss in about 15 percent of those with the disease.

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Full Answer

Dry macular degeneration causes blurred vision in the direct line of sight. The thinning of the retina’s macula is common for people over the age of 65, as cited by the Mayo Clinic. The affliction may develop in one eye to begin with, and spread to the other with time.

Wet macular degeneration symptoms arise when abnormal blood vessels form behind the macula; breaking down the Bruch's membrane, which supports the macula, as noted by Bright Focus. Called neovascularization, the degeneration causes blurred or complete loss of vision in a short period of time.

Three categories classify age-related macular degeneration; early AMD, during which people don’t experience vision loss, intermediate AMD, where patients notice partial vision loss and late AMD, when vision loss is severe, according to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation.

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