For those who are infected with ARMD, the cells in the retinal pigment epithelium are not able to function well as age of the patient increases. The cells fail to absorb nutrients for the rods and cones and they also cannot clear the waste material away from the seeing cells. Because of this, there is an abnormal deposition of drusen under the retina. By the time the seeing cells and the retinal pigment cells become degenerate, they will eventually die. This case is true for the dry-ARMD.
For some people, the wet-ARMD triggers the creation of new blood vessels in the choroid. The triggers for this type of ARMD is still unknown but some suggests that it is caused by the accumulation of waste materials not taken away from the retinal pigment epithelium which stimulates the growth of new blood vessels to clean the waste deposits.
The exact mechanism why the cells in the retinal pigment epithelium would stop properly working for those with ARMD is unknown. But it is known that there are risk factors involved such as the following:

  • Possibly having high blood pressure
  • Smoking.
  • Having a familial history of ARMD. This is not passed on through parents but it will increase your risk of having ARMD.