Macular Degeneration





Macular degeneration, often referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD), is an eye disorder of the elderly that is characterized by loss of central vision due to a damage in a part of the retina. This condition affects the macula, the portion of the retina that is in control of the clear central vision which is necessary to see refinedelements. Tasks such as reading, writing, driving, sewing, recognizing faces, and seeing things in fine detail are affected with macular degeneration.

This certain eye conditionbasically has two types: wet (exudative) and dry (atrophic). Wet macular degeneration accounts for roughly 10-15% of the reported cases, while dry macular degeneration accounts for the remaining 85-90%. It is the primary cause of visual impairment in adults who are over 55 years old.



Macular degeneration usually comes along with normal aging process. Its likelihood to happen, however, is increased by certain risk factors such as unhealthy lifestyle characterized by smoking, being sedentary and lacking the proper nutrition. Heredity and race can also affect the chances of getting this disease.

With dry macular degeneration, the weakening of the retina is due to the formation and accumulation of waste deposits, calleddrusen, under the macula. This buildup leads to the drying and thinning of this part of the retina which causes the loss of central vision.

For the wet or exudative type of macular degeneration, choroidalneurovascularization (CNV) or a network of abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the retina and the macula. Due to this new set of blood vessels, leakage of blood and eye fluids occur, which causes the macula to become displaced from its normally flat position. This displacement then causes the vision to become distorted or destroyed.


Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms will somehow vary depending on the type of macular degeneration that is present.

In dry macular degeneration, loss of central vision is somehow minimal, but generally there are limitations already to the functionality of vision. These limitations could include, wavering vision (characterized by waving of otherwise straight lines), limited night vision or in instances where there is low light, and some difficulty in reading especially fine print.

Wet macular degeneration features vision loss that is characterized by the presence of dark spots in the affected person’s central visual field. Oftentimes the loss of vision begins with only one eye, but eventually the other unaffected or less affected eye catches up so the loss of central vision becomes bilateral.



Diagnosing macular degeneration can be done through a combination of radiologic visualization and physical examination. Other physicians would also opt to use an angiogram in order to visualize better the abnormalities in the retina. Through these tests, the type and stage of the degeneration will also be determined.

There is no specifically known cure for macular degeneration, but there are treatment alternatives that can be chosen from in order to lessen the progress of this condition. For dry macular degeneration, since it is usually asymptomatic, what is important is the prevention of its progression into wet AMD.

Wet macular degeneration, on the other hand, can benefit from the following treatment options:

  • Laser photocoagulation surgery (to cauterize blood vessels that leak fluids);
  • Photodynamic therapy (to stabilize vision); and
  • Anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) injections.

Nutritional supplementation has also been considered beneficial in lowering the risks of macular degeneration. Certain vitamins and minerals can similarly slow down the progression of this disease.


Disability Tax Credits for Macular Degeneration

Growing old with macular degeneration can hold you back in enjoying the sights of the finer things in life. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, you can file for a disability tax claim from the Canadian Revenue Agency. Armed with a duly completed disability certificate and the assistance of one of our customer service representatives from HandyTax, you can be on your way to enjoying a disability tax refund soon.