Macular Degeneration Facts

Facts about Macular Degeneration

  • Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 55. Legal blindness is defined as 20/200 vision or less with eye glasses.
  • Macular degeneration is diagnosed every 3 minutes in the United States.
  • The number of people living with macular degeneration today is similar to that of those who have all types of cancer.
  • As many as 11 million people in the United States have some form of age-related macular degeneration. This number is expected to double to nearly 22 million by 2050.
  • Seventy percent of patients have the “dry” form, which involves thinning of the macular tissues and disturbances in its pigmentation.
  • Thirty percent have the “wet” form, which can involve bleeding within and beneath the retina, opaque deposits, and eventually scar tissue.
  • The “wet” form accounts for ninety percent of all cases of legal blindness in macular degeneration patients.
  • Many older people develop macular degeneration as part of the body’s natural aging process.
  • Annually 1.2 million people with macular degeneration lose part of their central vision and 200,000 suffer complete loss of central vision in one or both eyes.
  • Any type of smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke can accelerate the development of the “wet” type of macular degeneration.
  • The following are NOT known to be linked to macular degeneration: floaters (moving spots caused by debris floating in the vitreous fluid between the lens and the retina); dry eye syndromes; cataracts and cataract surgery.
  • Macular degeneration appears to be hereditary in some families but not in others. Since macular degeneration affects most patients later in life, it is difficult to study successive generations in a family.
  • On a scale of 1-10, with 10 indicating the greatest impact on daily life, 71% of adults say that loss of eyesight ranks a 10. However, only 52% of adults 18 and older report that they have heard of macular degeneration.

If you have any questions regarding macular degeneration or would like to set up an appointment, please call at 866-340-EYES.