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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Amblyopia. Amblyopia is a disorder of the visual system that is caused by misalignment of the eyes or clouding of the visual image for a sustained period of time during early childhood. It is characterized by poor or indistinct vision in an eye that is often physically normal in appearance.
Amsler grid. A grid with a dot in the center, used to test for symptoms that may signify macular degeneration.
Angiography. The process of obtaining images of blood vessels within and under the retina that retinal surgeons use to determine how best to stop them from leaking.
Angioid streaks. Crack-like irregularities that appear in Bruch's membrane.
Apheresis. A procedure used to remove harmful substances from the blood.
Blank spots. A commonly reported symptom of macular degeneration in which patients report that areas of their view disappear.
Blue light. A portion of the light spectrum of macular degeneration that is suspected of being harmful to the retina.
Blurring. A commonly reported symptom of macular degeneration in which patients report that lines or edges of objects lose their sharpness.
Braille. A system of raised letters. People who are legally blind read by touching the letters with their fingers.
Bruch's membrane. A thin, compact layer of fibers located between the retina and the underlying flat carpet of blood vessels that supplies the retina with nourishment.
Cataract. Opacity or cloudiness of the crystalline lens, which may prevent a clear image from forming on the retina. Surgical removal of the lens may be necessary if visual loss becomes significant, with lost optical power replaced with an intraocular lens, contact lens, or aphakic spectacles. May be congenital or caused by trauma, disease, or age.
Central atrophy. A thinning of the retina that occurs as part of macular degeneration.
Central serous retinopathy. A malfunction of the retinal pigment epithelium that allows fluid to leak under the retina, causing a limited retinal detachment.
Choroid. Vascular (major blood vessel) layer of the eye lying between the retina and the sclera. Provides nourishment to outer layers of the retina.
Choroidal Neovascularization (CNV). Abnormal blood vessels that originate from the choroid which can invade into the retina.
Classic choroidal neovascularization. A type of set macular degeneration characterized by rapid leaking of fluids under the retina and rapidly appearing visual problems.
Conjunctiva. Transparent mucous membrane covering the outer surface of the eyeball, except the cornea, and lining the inner surfaces of the eyelids.
Cornea. Transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber and provides most of an eye's optical power.
Diabetes. An abnormality of insulin production that results in elevated blood sugar. The elevated blood sugar can cause damage to many organs of the body, including the retina.
Diabetic retinopathy. Leaking of blood vessels within the retina, commonly found in diabetics, that can lead to retinal swelling, scarring, and retinal detachment. All of these abnormalities can be prevented in most cases if treatment is instituted early, before symptoms occur.
Distortions. A commonly reported symptom of macular degeneration in which patients report that lines in their view appear wavy.
Dominant eye. The eye that is preferred.
Double vision, diplopia. Vision in which a single object appears as double.
Drusen. Small yellow mounds of debris that accumulate within Bruch's membrane (of the retinal pigment epithelium). Common after age 60 and an early sign of age-related macular degeneration.
Dry macular degeneration. The wasting away of retinal cells, most likely due to lack of nourishment and buildup of waste materials.
Enzyme. A special protein that acts as a promoter during chemical reactions in the body.
Experimental. Not yet proven or available for general use.
Exudate. A clear fluid.
Feeder vessel treatment. Stopping retinal bleeding by closing the blood vessels that supply the leaking blood vessels.
Fibrosis. The process the body uses to create scar tissue.
Flashes of light. One of the most common indications of retinal problems. However, flashes can occur without retinal problems.
Fovea. Central pit in the macula that produces sharpest vision. Contains a high concentration of cones and no retinal blood vessels.
Free Radicals. Toxic substances produced by all cells.
Gene therapy. A method using genes (sequences of DNA) to treat disease.
Glaser monitoring program. A basic series of self-tests to monitor for the development or progression of macular degeneration.
Glaser ten-step program. A medically based program to help detect and minimize progression and damage from macular degeneration.
Glaucoma. Disorder of the eye characterized by an increase of pressure within the eyeball.
High-speed angiography. Using a computer to obtain high-speed images in order to better detect and delineate the pattern of leaking blood vessels under the retina.
Idiopathic. A disease of unknown origin or without apparent cause.
Idiopathic macular degeneration. An extremely rare form of macular degeneration that affects people in their twenties and thirties.
Infection. Inflammation in body tissue caused by microorganisms.
Inflammation. A localized response to tissue injury characterized by swelling, redness, heat, tenderness, and loss of function.
IOL (intraocular lens). Plastic lens that may be surgically implanted to replace the eye's natural lens.
Intraocular Pressure (IOP). The pressure within the eye.
Intravitreal bubble. A gas bubble sometimes introduced into the eye to displace or stop retinal bleeding. This technique is also commonly used in the repair of retinal detachment.
Iris. Pigmented tissue lying behind the cornea that gives color to the eye (e.g., blue eyes) and controls amount of light entering the eye by varying the size of the pupillary opening.
Iritis. A term referring to inflammation within the anterior segment (front part of eye).
Lens. The clear structure near the front of the eye that focuses images onto the retina. It has the same shape and function as the lens within a camera.
LDL (low density lipoproteins). The "bad" form of cholesterol that becomes incorporated into blood vessel walls.
Lutein. A vitamin that might reduce the risk of macular degeneration, but which has not yet been proven to do so.
Macula. The center of the retina. Used for direct focusing.
Macular degeneration. An abnormality of the blood supply to the light-sensitive portion of the retina that is primarily a result of aging.
Macular dystrophies. Abnormalities in cells of the retina that can cause symptoms of macular degeneration at an early age.
Macular hole. A microscopic hole that can appear in the macula.
Macular pucker. A thin membrane growing on the retina that contracts and distorts the retina, resulting in blurred and distorted vision.
Macular translocation. A surgical procedure that relocates the macula away from leaking blood vessels.
Myopic degeneration. An abnormality similar to macular degeneration that can occur in severely myopic people.
Nerves. Fibers containing nerve cells that convey impulses from the central nervous system to other parts of the body.
Neurologic. Referring to the nervous system.
Occult choroidal neovascularization. A type of set macular degeneration characterized by slower leakage of fluids under the retina.
Ocular histoplasmosis. Scars in the choroids resulting from infection by a fungus.
Operation. A procedure performed by a surgeon to remove or repair part of the body.
Ophthalmologist. Physician who specializes in the diagnosis, medical treatment, and surgical treatment of eye diseases.
Optometrist. Doctor of optometry (OD) specializing in vision problems, treating vision conditions with spectacles, contact lenses, low vision aids and vision therapy, and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases.
Oxidation. A process in which certain by-products of oxygen react with nearby molecules. It is thought to cause damage to tissues.
Photodynamic therapy. The use of laser beams to activate special dyes in order to stop retinal bleeding.
Photokeratitis. A painful but temporary condition of the eye caused by intense light sources, such as an arc welder.
Pigment epithelial detachment. A split occurring in Bruch's membrane fills with fluid and causes a dome-shaped detachment of the pigment epithelium underlying the retina, leading to visual distortion or other symptoms. Pigment epithelial detachments are often associated with macular degeneration.
Pigment epitheliam rip. A severe condition caused by a tear in the pigment epithelium, leading to sudden loss of vision. Pigment epithelial rips are often associated with macular degeneration but can also result from direct trauma to the eye.
Polypoidal choroidal neovascularization. Small swellings within the walls of blood vessels under the retina burst and cause damage to the retina.
Proteomics. The study of protein expression or proteins protduced by various ocular tissues.
Pterygium. A scarring condition of the cornea, caused by exposure to intense sunlight.
Receptors. Sites in the brain that allow the attachment of certain drugs, making them active and able to produce the desired results.
Remodeling. The process by which the blank spots noted by patients using the Amsler grid change positions.
Retina. The part of the eye that contains the rods and cones. It receives the image from the lens and conveys visual information to the brain via the optic nerve. The retina functions much like the film in a camera or the chip in a video camera.
Retinal Angiomatous Proliferation (RAP). Refers to abnormal blood vessels that arise from within the neurosensory retina.
Retinal fibrosis. Scarring in the retina.
Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). A single layer of cells between the retina and the underlying blood vessels.
Retinal surgeon. An ophthalmologist specializing in diseases of the retina.
Second opinion. An extensive exam designed to get input and an opinion from a second physician.
Sedation. Medication given to reduce awareness.
Side effect. An unintended consequence of a treatment.
Sign. Observable evidence of disease.
Stem cell. A type of primitive cell that can transform into and generate other cells.
Subretinal hemorrage. A condition caused by pooling of blood under the retina.
Tear film. A layer of fluid that bathes and lubricates the cornea.
Tissue. Body components made of living cells.
Transfusion. The procedure of transferring blood or blood products from one person to another.
Transpupillary thermotherapy (TTT). The use of infrared light to stop retinal bleeding.
Ultraviolet (UV) light. The non-visible portion of the light spectrum with a wave length shorter than violet light.
Uveitis. Refers to inflammation within the eye structure.
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). A growth factor secreted by living cells which can cause the growth, migration or maturation of blood vessels and influeces various tissues.
Visual Acuity. This term refers to how well an eye can see. This is often measured at various distances and charts.
Vitreous. The clear, jelly-like fluid in the central portion of the eye.
Vitreous hemorrhage. Hemorrhage within the vitreous of the eye.
Wet macular degeneration. The abnormal increase in and leaking from blood vessels under the retina, leading to disturbances of the central field of vision.
Zeaxanthin. A vitamin that may help prevent macular degeneration, but which has not yet been proven to do so.
Zinc. An antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and is important to the proper functioning of the body. Its role in macular degeneration is unknown.