Most people will develop at least a mild form of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) as we get older. At its base, ARMD is an aging of the tissues in and below the retina that will cause a decrease in the quality of your central vision. Someone with advanced ARMD will have a blurry spot or a cloud in the central area of their vision while maintaining the side vision. The “dry” form of ARMD is slow to progress, but has no known useful treatment. Preventative measures such as healthy diet and lifestyle as well as avoiding major triggers like smoking are the best way to minimize risks. The “wet” form can cause rapid vision changes and losses which are more noticeable. While there is no method to restore vision lost through wet ARMD, there are some methods (including lasers and injectable medications) that have been useful in stabilizing the process for a time.
Both family history as well as environmental and health habits will play a major role in the severity of the disease. Yearly exams for mild cases or those with significant risk factors are necessary while sometimes being examined every 6 months or more frequently is not uncommon in more advanced cases. Monitoring your vision with observation and tools like amsler grids are key to catching the problems before they become debilitating.
Here, you can see the distortions and changes to one’s vision as macular degeneration worsens. Daily use of an amsler grid can catch these changes earlier and lead to better care and outcomes.