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October 9, 1996

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Too

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison.

JAMA. 1996;276(14):1178-1179. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540140066029

AGE-RELATED macular degeneration is an important cause of loss of vision in older Americans.1-3 The late stages of this disease have been estimated to be the cause of severe loss of vision (defined as 20/200 or worse in the better eye) in more than 230 000 people.4 The early stages of the disease have been estimated to affect about 30% of individuals 75 years of age or older, and the late stages of the disease have been estimated to affect about 7%.5

See also pp 1141 and 1147.

The disease is characterized in its early form by the presence of large, soft, confluent drusen and pigmentary abnormalities.6-8 At this stage, the visual acuity is usually normal.3 Later in its course, it is characterized by the development of either a wet or dry form. The wet form (exudative macular degeneration) is manifest by the development of