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About Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration Research (MDR), a program of the BrightFocus Foundation funds research on and informs the public about macular degeneration. Since the program's inception, MDR has granted more than $15.8 million supporting basic research into the causes and potential treatments of this incurable disease.

Macular degeneration causes deterioration of the macula, the central area of the retina. The retina is a paper-thin tissue at the back of the eye where light sensitive cells send visual signals to the brain. Sharp, clear, straight-ahead vision is processed by the macula, and damage to it results in blind spots and blurred or distorted vision. Those affected by macular degeneration find many daily activities such as driving and reading, increasingly difficult. Macular degeneration usually affects individuals older than 50 years of age, and scientific evidence shows that genes may play a role in the development of nearly three out of four cases of this devastating eye disease.

Macular degeneration is a major cause of visual impairment in the United States. As many as 11 million Americans have some form of macular degeneration, including both early and later stages of the wet and dry forms. This number is expected to double to nearly 22 million by 2050.

In this section you can find information on…

Understanding Macular Degeneration
For comprehensive information about macular degeneration, current statistics, symptoms and stages, as well as easily understood medical illustrations on how the disease impacts vision…
Blurred central vision and wavy lines on an Amsler grid are potential signs of macular degeneration. Learn more about these symptoms…
Risk Factors & Prevention
Scientists are unsure of the cause of macular degeneration, but some factors appear to increase the risk of developing the disease. Learn more about these risk factors and ways to try lowering the odds…
Screening & Diagnosis
Doctors use a variety of tests to diagnose macular degeneration. Find out what may be done during an eye exam…

Disclaimer: The information provided in this section is a public service of the BrightFocus Foundation, and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Although we take efforts to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the information on our website reflects the most up-to-date research. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice; all medications and supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product or therapy.

Source: Some of the information in this section of our website was obtained from the National Eye Institute and the National Library of Medicine.

Last Review: 08/23/13

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