Dry macular degeneration
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Dry macular degeneration is a chronic eye disease that causes vision loss in the center of your field of vision. Dry macular degeneration is marked by deterioration of the macula (MAK-u-luh), which is in the center of the retina. The layer of tissue on the inside back wall of your eyeball.
Dry macular degeneration is one of two types of age-related macular degeneration. The other type — wet macular degeneration — is characterized by blood vessels that grow under the retina in the back of the eye, leaking blood and fluid. Dry macular degeneration is the more common form of the disease.
Dry macular degeneration may worsen your quality of life by causing blurred central vision or a blind spot in your central vision. You need clear central vision for many tasks, such as reading, driving and recognizing faces.
The exact cause of dry macular degeneration is unknown, but the condition develops as the eye ages. Dry macular degeneration affects the macula — an area located at the center of your retina that is responsible for clear vision in your direct line of sight. Over time tissue in your macula may thin and break down.
Dry macular degeneration symptoms usually develop gradually. You may notice these vision changes:
- The need for brighter light when reading or doing close work
- Increasing difficulty adapting to low light levels, such as when entering a dimly lit restaurant
- Increasing blurriness of printed words
- A decrease in the intensity or brightness of colors
- Difficulty recognizing faces
- A gradual increase in the haziness of your central or overall vision
- Crooked central vision
- A blurred or blind spot in the center of your field of vision
- Hallucinations of geometric shapes or people, in case of advanced macular degeneration
Dry macular degeneration may affect one or both eyes. If only one eye is affected, you may not notice any changes in your vision because your good eye may compensate for the weak eye.
See your eye doctor if:
- You notice changes in your central vision
- Your ability to see colors and fine detail becomes impaired
These changes may be the first indication of macular degeneration, particularly if you’re older than age 50.