Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in adults. It most commonly affects people who are over the age of 50. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 1.8 million people suffer from macular degeneration. Also, 7.3 million are at risk for developing the disease. The key to dealing with macular degeneration is early detection and prevention. That is why it is so important to be aware of the symptoms and be proactive when dealing with your own eye health.
What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a condition that can cause vision loss in the center of your vision. It happens when the macula, a small central portion of the retina, begins to deteriorate. The retina is the light-sensing nerve located in the back of the eye. This results in a dimming of vision and the loss of light perception. Because tends to affect people as they get older, it is often referred to age-related macular degeneration. There are two different kinds of the disease.
The most common form is called dry form. It is characterized by yellow deposits, known as drusen, in the macula. As these deposits grow and multiply, your vision begins to dim and distort. People will usually begin to notice the early stages of this form when they are reading. In later stages, dry form macular degeneration can lead to tissue death, or atrophy.
The second kind is called the wet form. This happens when there is a growth of abnormal blood vessels from the choroid, a vascular area of the eye which contain connective tissues, underneath the macula. Blood will leak into the retina creating vision distortion. Eventually the blood vessels scar, which leads to vision loss.
What Causes Macular Degeneration
There have been many studies to find what causes Macular Degeneration. Many risk factors have been uncovered including the fact that it may be hereditary. Other major risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It is also more common among women, Caucasians and people with lighter colored eyes.
There are many warning signs for macular distortion. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to schedule an appointment with our office as soon as possible. Remember, that the best course of action for dealing with this disease is early detection and prevention. These are the most common symptoms:
- Dim or blurry spots in the center of your vision.
- Needing more and brighter light when reading or doing close work.
- Difficulty reading print due to blurriness.
- Diminished intensity in colors.
- Crooked or wavy central vision.
- Difficulty recognizing faces.
The only treatment available for macular degeneration is to keep the disease from progressing further. There is no way to reverse the effects of the disease. If you begin to experience symptoms, it’s important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. If you are diagnosed, frequent examinations will be needed to track the progression of the disease. Even if you don’t have the disease, annual check-ups are recommended to keep tabs on the symptoms.
One of the most common treatments for the progression of the disease in an increase in vitamin intake. You would be prescribed a mix of antioxidant-rich vitamins and zinc. This has been proven to help prevent the condition from worsening. This treatment works better for people who have the disease in one eye. For worse cases, surgery is an option. This is where a telescopic lense would be inserted into one of the affected eyes. This treatment is commonly used in people who have the disease in both eyes.