Macular Degeneration Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Macular Degeneration article.

20/20: See: Twenty-twenty.

Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.

Acetate: A molecular ion derived from acetic acid. The formula of acetate is CH3COO-.

Age-related macular degeneration: An eye disease with its onset usually after age 60 that...

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Aging: The process of becoming older, a process that is genetically determined and environ...

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Amsler grid: While conducting an eye examination, the eye care professional may ask the p...

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Analogous: In anatomy, similar in appearance or function but otherwise different. Two stru...

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Angiogram: An X-ray image of blood vessels. The vessels can be seen because a contrast dye...

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Angiography: A procedure performed to view blood vessels after injecting them with a radio...

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Antibody: An immunoglobulin, a specialized immune protein, produced because of the introdu...

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Antioxidant: A substance that reduces damage due to oxygen, such as that caused by free ra...

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Apnea: The absence of breathing (respiration).

Argon laser: A laser with ionized argon as the active medium. Argon lasers are used for ph...

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ARMD: Age-related macular degeneration (which may also be abbreviated as AMD).

Aspirin: Once the Bayer trademark for acetylsalicylic acid, now the common name for this a...

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Atrophy: A wasting away or diminution. Muscle atrophy is a decrease in muscle mass, often ...

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Beta carotene: A vitamin that acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells against oxidation d...

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Bilateral: Affecting both sides. For example, bilateral arthritis affects joints on both t...

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Blind: 1. Unable to see. Without part or all of the sense of sight.
2....

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Blindness: Loss of useful sight. Blindness can be temporary or permanent. Damage to any p...

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Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It func...

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Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, ...

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Cataract: A clouding or loss of transparency of the lens in the eye as a result of tissu...

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Cataract surgery: Removal of the clouded (cataractous) lens in its entirety via surgery an...

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Central vision: A process in which millions of cells change light into nerve signals that ...

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Choroid: In the eye, a thin vascular layer between the sclera and the retina. The choroid ...

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Clinical trials: Trials to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of medications or medical...

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Colon: The long, coiled, tubelike organ that removes water from digested food. The remaini...

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Contrast: Short for "contrast media." Contrast media are X-ray dyes used to provide contra...

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Cornea: The clear front window of the eye, which transmits and focuses light into the eye....

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Cure: 1. To heal, to make well, to restore to good health. 2. A time withou...

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Diabetic retinopathy: Disease of the retina caused by diabetes that involves damage to the...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Drusen: Tiny yellow or white deposits in the retina of the eye or on the optic nerve head...

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Dry eye: A deficiency of tears. The main symptom is usually a scratchy or sandy feeling as...

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Ear: The hearing organ. There are three sections of the ear, according to the anatomy tex...

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Edema: The swelling of soft tissues as a result of excess fluid accumulation. Edema is oft...

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Emergency department: The department of a hospital responsible for the provision of medica...

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Endothelial: Relating to the endothelium.

Epithelium: The outside layer of cells that covers all the free, open surfaces of the body...

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Essential: In medicine, of unknown cause, as in essential hypertension (high blood pressur...

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Etiology: The study of causes, as in the causes of a disease. The form aetiology is genera...

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Family history: The family structure and relationships within the family, including inform...

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FDA: Food and Drug Administration.

Fluorescein angiography: A test to examine blood vessels in the retina, choroid, and iris ...

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Food and Drug Administration: An agency within the US Public Health Service that provides ...

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Genes: The basic biological units of heredity. Segments of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) nee...

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Genetic: Having to do with genes and genetic
information.

Glaucoma: A common eye condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eyes rises becaus...

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Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. ...

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Heart attack: The death of heart muscle due to the loss of blood supply. The loss of bloo...

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Hemorrhagic: Pertaining to bleeding or the abnormal flow of blood.

In vivo: In the living organism. For example, an experiment that is done in vivo is done i...

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Indicate: In medicine, to make a treatment or procedure advisable because of a particular ...

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Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a ...

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Intervention: The act of intervening, interfering or interceding with the intent of modify...

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Intraocular: In the eye. For example, intraocular pressure is the pressure within the eye....

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Iris: The circular, colored curtain of the eye. The opening of the iris forms the pupil. T...

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Laser: A powerful beam of light that is used in some types of surgery to cut or destroy ti...

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Legal blindness: The criteria used to determine eligibility for government disability bene...

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Lipitor: See: Atorvastatin.

Macula: A macula is a small spot. A macula on the skin is a small flat spot while the macu...

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Macular: Pertaining to the macula. A macula is a small spot. A macula on the skin is a s...

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Macular degeneration: A disease that progressively destroys the macula, the central porti...

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Maculopathy: Any pathologic condition or disease of the macula, the small spot in the reti...

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Medical school: A school with a curriculum leading to a medical degree. The mission of eve...

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Membrane: A very thin layer of tissue that covers a 'surface.

Metabolic: Relating to metabolism, the whole range of biochemical processes that occur wit...

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Metabolic syndrome: A constellation of conditions that place people at high risk for coron...

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Molecule: The smallest unit of a substance that can exist alone and retain the character o...

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Myopia: Nearsightedness, the ability to see close objects more clearly than distant objec...

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Nerve: A bundle of fibers that uses electrical and chemical signals to transmit sensory an...

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NIH: National Institutes of Health.

Obesity: The state of being well above one's normal weight.

Occult: Hidden. For example, occult blood in the stool is hidden from the eye but can be d...

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Ocular: Having to do with the eye.

Ophthalmic: Pertaining to the eye. For example, an ophthalmic ointment is designed for the...

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Ophthalmologist: A physician who practices ophthalmology.

Ophthalmology: The art and science of eye ?medicine.

Ophthalmoscope: A lighted instrument that is used to examine the inside of the eye, includ...

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Optic: Having to do with vision.

Optic nerve: The optic nerve connects the eye to the brain. The optic nerve carries the...

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Optometrist: A practitioner who provides primary eye and vision care, performs eye examina...

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Osteoporosis: Thinning of the bones, with reduction in bone mass, due to depletion of calc...

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Oxygen: The odorless gas that is present in the air and necessary to maintain life. Oxygen...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Pathologic: 1. Indicative of or caused by disease, as in a pathologic fracture, pat...

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Peripheral: Situated away from the center, as opposed to centrally located.

Peripheral vision: Side vision. The ability to see objects and movement outside of the di...

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Periphery: 1. The outside or surface of a structure; the portion outside the centr...

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Pharmacy: A location where prescription medications are sold. A pharmacy is constantly sup...

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Photodynamic therapy: A form of treatment that uses a photosensitizing agent, administered...

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Pigment: A substance that gives color to tissue. Pigments are responsible for the colors o...

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Pigmentation: The coloring of the skin, hair, mucous membranes, and retina of the eye. Pig...

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Pons: A specific section of the brain formed by the rounded prominence on the front surfac...

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Posterior: The back or behind, as opposed to the anterior.

Predispose: To make more likely or render susceptible. Smoking predisposes to a number of ...

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Prognosis: The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient's chan...

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Progressive: Increasing in scope or severity, advancing, or going forward. For example, a ...

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Prospective: Looking forward. A prospective study or a prospective clinical trial is one i...

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Proteins: Large molecules composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific orde...

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Quality of life: The patient's ability to enjoy normal life activities. Quality of life is...

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Randomized: The use of chance alone to assign the participants in an experiment or trial t...

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Rectum: The last 6 to 8 inches of the large intestine. The rectum stores solid waste until...

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Retina: The retina is the nerve layer that lines the back of the eye, senses light, and c...

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Retinal: Pertaining to the retina, the extraordinary layer of neurons (nerve cells) that ...

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Retinal disease: In medicine, called retinopathy. See: Retinopathy.

Retinal pigment epithelium: The pigment cell layer that nourishes the retinal cells.

Retinopathy: Any disease of the retina, the light-sensitive membrane at the back of the ey...

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Risk factor: Something that increases a person's chances of developing a disease. For exam...

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Selenium: An essential mineral that is a component of an antioxidant enzyme, glutathione r...

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Senile: 1. Pertaining to old age. 2. Pertaining to the physical decline ass...

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Sensitivity: 1. In psychology, the quality of being sensitive. As, for example, sen...

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Sensory: Relating to sensation, to the perception of a stimulus, to the voyage made by inc...

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Sleep: The body's rest cycle.

Sleep apnea: The temporary stoppage of breathing during sleep, often resulting in daytime ...

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Steroid: One of a large group of chemical substances classified by a specific carbon struc...

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Stroke: The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood...

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Surgery: The branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of disease or inj...

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Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.

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Syndrome X: See: Metabolic syndrome.

Systemic: Affecting the entire body. A systemic disease such as diabetes can affect the wh...

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Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.

Tomography: The process for generating a tomogram, a two-dimensional image of a slice or s...

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Topical: Pertaining to a particular surface area. For example, a topical agent is applied ...

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Uveitis: Inflammation of the uvea. Uveitis is a serious form of eye inflammation and requi...

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Vascular: Relating to blood vessels. For example, the vascular system in the body includes...

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VEGF: Vascular endothelial growth factor, a substance made by cells that stimulates the fo...

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Vein: A blood vessel that carries blood that is low in oxygen content from the body back t...

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Vessel: A tube in the body that carries fluids. Examples of vessels are blood vessels and ...

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Visual acuity: The clarity or clearness of vision, a measure of how well a person sees.

Visual field: The entire area that can be seen when the eye is directed forward, including...

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Vitamin A: Vitamin A is retinol. Carotene compounds (found, for example, in egg yolk, butt...

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Vitamin C: An essential nutrient found mainly in fruits and vegetables. The body requires ...

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Vitamin E: Alpha-tocopherol, an antioxidant vitamin which binds oxygen free radicals that ...

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Vitamins: The word "vitamin" was coined in 1911 by the Warsaw-born biochemist Casimir Funk...

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Vitrectomy: Removal of the gel (called the vitreous) from within the eyeball. This may be ...

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Wasting: 1. Gradual loss (for example, of weight), deterioration, emaciation. As in...

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Zinc: A mineral that is essential to the body and is a constituent of many enzymes that pe...

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