Macular Degeneration

Detection & Treatment Options

What is Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative condition of the macula, which is the portion of the retina responsible for central vision. It is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss in the United States in those 60 or older, and its prevalence increases with age. The exact cause of macular degeneration is still being studied, however several risk factors have been identified including age, family history, smoking, female sex, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, light skin and light-colored eyes. 

Macular Degeneration Treatment in Denver, CO

No one knows the cause of AMD. Causes are likely to be genetically inherited, but environmental factors may also contribute. Macular degeneration often runs in families. Women have a higher risk of developing AMD than men. There may be a wide variety of different genes and proteins associated with dry and wet macular degeneration.

Many risk factors have been found to be associated with AMD. These include age, family history, light-skin, light-colored iris, poor nutrition, obesity, smoking, and exposure to sunlight.

What is the difference between
wet and dry macular degeneration?

AMD is classified as either wet (neovascular) or dry (non-neovascular). About 10-20% of patients who suffer from macular degeneration have wet AMD. This type occurs when new, abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the retina. However, the new vessels are very delicate and break easily, causing bleeding and damage to surrounding tissue. The resulting vision loss can be abrupt and rapid.

The dry type is much more common and is characterized by drusen and pigment changes in the retina. This causes a gradual loss of central vision.

Other causes include:

Detection and Diagnosis

Diagnosis of AMD involves a dilated eye exam by an eye doctor who can look at the retina with special lenses. Your doctor may also recommend ocular coherence tomography (OCT) or fluorescein angiography (FA) to help make this diagnosis. 

If you think you have macular degeneration, please contact us. Our doctors have the necessary experience, expertise, and equipment to diagnose and treat macular degeneration.

How is macular degeneration treated?


Unfortunately, there is no cure for dry AMD. Lifestyle changes can help slow the progression of the disease. These include the use of UV protective sunglasses when outside, a good diet including the use of green leafy vegetables and avoiding smoking. Your doctor may recommend you start taking vitamins meeting the requirements of the AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study). These measures help slow down the progression of the disease. 


Wet AMD is almost always treated with injections of medication into the eye. Rarely, a retinal laser surgery may be recommended. The sooner treatment is initiated, the better chance there is of retaining good vision. These injections help get rid of the abnormal blood vessels that are leaking into the retina but generally repeated long-term treatment is needed. The main goal of the injections is to stabilize the vision, though sometimes vision can be improved after treatment begins.

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To learn more about the retina, the diagnosis of diseases, medical treatments, and surgical treatments for retinal diseases, please request an appointment or contact us for your exam at 303-279-6600.

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