WHAT IS IT AND HOW TO RECOGNISE IT
MACULAR DEGENERATION refers to a retinal disorder which causes an alteration, reducing the functionality of the central area of the retina (the macula) leading to loss of central vision. It is most commonly associated with ageing of the eye: the macula, containing numerous light receptors, changes until it loses its characteristics. The incidence of AMD is rare before aged 55 years, but increases, especially after 75 years. The more severe form of the disease, known as “wet”, is less frequent and develops faster but is currently the only one considered treatable.
Initial symptoms are distorted images in the central area of the visual field, difficulty reading and carrying out close-up activities, which require looking at small details, loss of colour brilliance.
There are two forms of age-related macular degeneration, both are associated with alterations of the capillary microcirculation, which is typical of advanced age: the dry (or atrophic) form and the wet (or exudative) form. These should be considered as two separate disorders, as their prognosis and potential therapies are entirely different.
The dry, or atrophic form (85-90% of cases) is characterised by a progressive thinning of the central retina, through being poorly nourished by the capillaries, which consequently atrophies.