General information on AMD

(Age-related Macular degeneration)

What is the macula or macula lutea?
The macula (Latin: macula lutea or “yellow spot”) is the central posterior part of the retina (a tissue film lining the posterior inside of the eye and of essential importance for vision) and is only a few square millimeters [cf. Figure 1 + 2].
The macula is the most sensitive part of the retina and allows a central high-resolution visual acuity. She is also responsible for color vision. The macula allows us to perform actions for which a central high-resolution visual acuity is required, e.g. Reading, watching TV, recognizing faces and driving a car.

Please find more information on the macular pigment, AMD and the special function of meso-zeaxanthin, following these
(In German and English)
(Informations in English on the Macular Carotenoids Conference).

What is AMD?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease of the macula, the central part of the retina in the eye, that results in loss of central vision. More specifically, the impairment of vision in AMD is caused by choroidal neovascularization (abnormal blood vessels that proliferate in the retina and destroy structures [see Figure 3] and / or by atrophy (ie, dissolution of the retina and choroid [see Figure 4b].

There are two types of AMD: early and late. Early AMD can be present in the eye without the sufferer being aware of it, as it has no symptoms that can be detected by the human eye.

Early AMD often progresses into late AMD, and this becomes visually consequential; in order words, it affects vision. The earlier AMD is diagnosed, the easier it is to intervene.

The AMD with visual impairment is the most common cause of age-related blindness in the Western world, but the incidence of disease increases worldwide. Latest figures show that AMD is the cause of 50% of the reported blindness in industrialized countries. As the name suggests, the incidence of vision impairment increases with AMD with age. Since we have a higher life expectancy than ever before, the frequency of this disease will continue to increase [see Figure 5].

What are the symptoms of AMD?
The main symptom of visually consequential AMD (AMD which affects vision) is dim, fuzzy or distorted central vision, which can affect the ability to carry out fine detail visual tasks such as reading.  With this disease, objects may appear distorted or smaller than they really are. Faces will become more difficult to recognize. As the disease progresses, central vision is totally lost.  However, good peripheral (side) vision is retained.

Test your eyesight for signs of AMD
Please test yourself with the Amsler-Grid test! ->

If the test runs without any other observations, this does not mean very much. Because the test shows changes by the AMD only at a relatively advanced time. It is recommended to consult the ophthalmologist every two years at the latest from the age of 45.