Macular Degeneration

AMD stands for age-related macular degeneration and is responsible for causing loss of central vision. As the name states, it is a condition common in senior citizens and is a progressive disease in the part of the retina, called the macula. Although it could end up causing blindness, that is extremely rare and most people end up having a more mild form of this condition. If you notice any subtle changes in your central vision or if you know that you’re at risk for developing AMD then make sure to book an appointment to see your eye doctor. If you experience any sudden and severe changes to your central vision then the appointment should be booked immediately.

Although this condition is considered a leading cause of blindness, the majority of people who develop AMD do not become blind. Since it’s a degenerative disease, early detection prior to severe visual loss is crucial because precautions can be taken to prevent damage (Macular Degeneration Prevention). Macular degeneration starts out in a less severe form called dry AMD. In this type of early stage of the disease, the person might not notice any symptoms for the first while. However, there are certain signs of this condition which the eye doctor will see when the retina is checked. The most characteristic sign of this condition is called drusen which are yellow deposits under the retina.

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The first symptoms that a person may notice is that his or her glasses no longer provide the same clear vision as in the past. Alternatively, if you have AMD you might notice a decrease in quality of your central vision or that straight lines start looking more wavy. If you notice any of these changes in your vision, please book an appointment with your eye doctor.

The more unusual form of this disease is called wet AMD and it causes more significant damage to your vision. In wet macular degeneration, there are new unstable blood vessels that begin to form in your retina which decrease the quality of your central vision. People with wet AMD may experience sudden and severe changes in their central vision so if this is what you’re experiencing please see an eye doctor right away.

The good news is that if you have dry AMD then there are screenings that are readily available to check to make sure that your condition is not turning into the wet form. In addition, there are precautions such as stopping to smoke and taking a well researched supplement which can decrease your chances of progression of visual damage. If your vision has already been compromised by wet macular degeneration then there is effective treatment (AMD Treatment Options) used to block the source of the damage in your retina.

Common Questions

There are various causes that are attributed to this condition, including Age; people aged 60+, Family history, Smoking, Race, Other health conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease
The majority of people who develop AMD do not become blind, though this disease could cause blindness if not dealt with properly. Ninety percent of people with macular degeneration have the dry form which is less severe and does not cause substantial vision loss. It is the 10% who have wet AMD that experience a decrease in their central vision which could lead to legal blindness, however peripheral vision is spared in AMD. There are so many preventative measures available today to help slow down progress of vision loss. For those who have wet AMD there is effective treatment available that blocks the source of the damage. There is constantly research being done to improve treatment and to find a cure for AMD.
Children can be affected by it. Juvenile macular degeneration (JMD) is the term used to describe a group of inherited and rare diseases affecting children and young adults. Stargardt disease, best's disease, and juvenile retinoschisis are the most common types of juvenile macular degeneration. Juvenile macular degeneration generally begins in childhood or adolescence and declines gradually and sometimes suddenly until it reaches a level of 20/200 or 20/400.
Macular Degeneration
Dr. Zurcher cartoon


If you have any suspicion that you might have AMD, please schedule an appointment to meet with your eye doctor who can offer you guidance regarding the proper prevention, a comprehensive diagnosis and/or treatment when necessary. There are many wonderful resources available today to help decrease vision loss from this disease. You can schedule an eye exam with our eye doctor by calling (360) 491-2121. Patients searching for advanced treatment for AMD visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of medical eye care services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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