Age-Related Macular Degeneration / Glossary of Terms
Information is power.
Here you’ll find definitions for terms commonly associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). If you have any questions or need further clarification, be sure to contact your eye care professional.
Advanced macular degeneration – The loss of central vision in one or both eyes resulting from the destruction of photoreceptor cells in the macular region of the retina.
Amsler grid – A grid of straight lines resembling graph paper. A dot is printed in the center of the grid. An Amsler grid is used to test for the onset of, and progression of, macular degeneration.
Antioxidants – Substances that absorb free-radical particles in the body. Damage from free-radicals is thought to lead to macular degeneration and a host of other conditions.
Atrophic macular degeneration – Characterized as "dry" AMD, it is a less aggressive and less damaging form of macular degeneration, developing slowly in the beginning.
Beta-carotene – A member of the carotenoid family of vitamins found in vegetables, such as carrots. Beta-carotene may be beneficial to eye health.
Central vision – That part of your vision that shows you what is directly in front of you.
Choroidal neovascularization - Characterized as "wet" AMD. It is caused when abnormal blood vessels form in the macula, and leak blood and fluids into the retina.
Drusen – Yellowish spots, or deposits, that form beneath the retina that are precursors of macular degeneration. An increase in number and size of drusen suggests increased risk of progression of AMD.
Exudative macular degeneration – Another name for wet macular degeneration.
Hemorrhagic macular degeneration – Wet AMD that involves bleeding in the retina.
Lutein – A carotenoid that is found in the lens and retina, primarily in the macula. This important antioxidant acts as a blue-light filter.
Macula – That part of the retina that is responsible for central vision and seeing fine detail.
Ocular – Of, or pertaining to, the eye.
Omega-3 fatty acids – An unsaturated fatty acid of a kind occurring chiefly in fish oils, with three double bonds at particular positions in the hydrocarbon chain.
Ophthalmologist – A doctor who is trained in eye and vision care, and can prescribe all types of treatment, from glasses to surgery.
Optometrist – A doctor of optometry who examines, diagnoses, treats, and manages diseases and disorders of the eye.
Oxidation – A chemical reaction that occurs in the body, releasing free-radical particles that can be damaging to different tissues in the body, especially to the eyes.
Peripheral vision – Your side or off-center vision.
Retina – The layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eye and receives the image formed by the lens.
Retinal specialist – An ophthalmologist specializing in diseases of the retina.
Subretinal neovascularization – The growth of abnormal blood vessels under the retina that occurs with wet AMD.
Supplements – Vitamin and mineral products that augment the levels of certain beneficial substances in your diet.
Zeaxanthin – A carotenoid found in fruits and vegetables. Zeaxanthin concentrates in the macula, where it protects against blue light and oxidative damage.