Metaphor for Age Related Macular Degeneration by John P. Carlson, M.D.

healthy lawnMetaphor for Age Related Macular Degeneration

Age Related Macular Degeneration effects the center part of the retina which is called the macula. A healthy macula is necessary for good central vision. When the macula is damaged by Age Related Macular Degeneration, the central vision becomes dark, clouded and/or distorted. In order to understand how the healthy macula is affected by Age Related Macular Degeneration, one can think of the macula as a healthy lawn.

dying grassIn the early stages of Age Related Macular Degeneration, aging spots begin to damage the macula. This is akin to the way a lawn can develop sun spots from unfavorable growing conditions such as excessive sunlight or heat.

In these areas where the grass dies off in the lawn, weeds can begin to grow. In Age weedRelated Macular Degeneration, the macula is damaged and the body can respond by growing new blood vessels. These new blood vessels can bleed or leak fluid into the macula causing vision loss. When these new blood vessels grow, this is known as wet Age Related Macular Degeneration as opposed to dry Age Related Macular Degeneration when there are no abnormal blood vessels growing.