The Dilemma of Macular Degeneration Essay

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The Dilemma of Macular Degeneration

According to Baily and Hall, while visual impairment early in life is associated with inherited congenital disorders, abnormal fetal devepment, and problems associated with premature birth, most eye conditions are associated with aging. They claim that over 70% of the visually impaired population in the United States is over 65. Age related maculopathy, also called macular degeneration, or AMD, impairs the center of vision in older individuals. The macula is the region in the back of the retina that surrounds and includes the fovea (Goldstein 1999). It is important to understand that when this degeneration progresses enough, the condition constitutes blindness because the foveal area is what is
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Danger can exist for victims of the condition when simply walking down the street or even through their own homes. While there is yet no cure for macular degeneration the research is in progress. Two main areas of research include investigating the causes and exploring potential treatments.

According to Friedman, progress in the effort to stop or prevent AMD will be slow until the cause is learned. He claims retinal pigmant epithelium damage to be the prominant theory explaining the choroidal circulation changes that lead to AMD. Although Friedmal himself does not subscribe to this theory, other researchers do and use it as a basis for study. Grunwald, Harisprasad, Dupont, M. G. Mguire, Fine, Bruker, A.M. Maguire, and Ho compared choroidal blood flow in subjects with AMD to a control group. They used laser doppler flowmetry to asess the volume, velocity, and flow of blood in the center of the fovea. Ten subjects with no drusen (cellular debris) were compared to 20 subjects with ten or more large drusen. The average visual acuities of the two groups was very close. No significant differences between age, blood pressure, or intraocular pressure was revealed between the subjects. Spraul, G. E. Lang, Grossnik laus, and G. K. Lang questioned the validity of the study. They claim doppler flowmetry to be an imperfect method for such a study because of multiple light scattering properties of the tissue. They also

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