Macular degeneration is an eye disease that affects the macula, or the center of the retina that is responsible for your central vision. This condition develops as people (and their eyes) age, making it the leading cause of central vision loss among adults over age fifty-five in developed countries. You are especially at a high risk if you are over 60. caucasian, smoke, or have a family history of the disease.
What Occurs in Your Eye When You Have Macular Degeneration?
The symptoms of macular degeneration include blind spots and bluriness in your central vision, a loss of sharpness, and a distortion of straight
lines. But what is going on to cause these problems?
Ninety percent of patients with macular degeneration have the most common dry form. Yellowish deposits form under the retina. In many cases, these deposits don’t alter your vision; only a small number of these patients will develop a more severe form of macular degeneration which will affect their vision.
The less common wet form of macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the retina and then leak. This leaking can lead to scarring and swelling of the macula, leading to vision loss. While only ten percent of patients with macular degeneration will have this form, it leads to vision loss in ninety percent of the patients who have it.
How is Macular Degeneration Treated?
There is no cure for macular degeneration, but there are a number of treatments available. For most patients with the dry form, vitamin supplementation can help slow the progress of the disease, as can a diet high in Lutein, fish oil, and leafy greens.
For patients with the wet form of macular degeneration, your doctor can recommend laser treatment, photodynamic therapy, and a number of injections to reduce and eliminate the blood vessels under the retina. For some, surgery may be necessary to remove the blood vessels.
In both cases, early diagnosis and treatment are important if you want to avoid losing your vision. Keep a lookout for the symptoms, and let your doctor know if you experience them or have a family history of the disease.