CausesThe retina needs a very specific set of nutrients. Many of the nutrients in the blood are harmful to the sensitive retina. The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a layer of tissue that filters the flow of nutrients to the retina. When the RPE breaks down, the retina can become thin or dry, or even leak.
This condition become more common as people age. By age 75, almost 15 percent of people have some form of macular degeneration. Smoking can greatly increase a person’s risk for this condition.
TreatmentIf macular degeneration causes leaking (known as wet macular degeneration) a treatment exists that injects a photo-sensitve medication into the bloodstream. Once that medication has reached the eyes, a laser is shone into them. This causes the abnormal, leaking blood vessels to be destroyed. Medications and other procedures also exist for wet macular degeneration.
Dry macular degeneration (when there is no leaking) has no treatment, though there is some indication that zinc may slow progression.
Source: ADAM Medical Encyclopedia. Macular Degeneration
ADAM Medical Encyclopedia. Macular Degeneration