Macular degeneration is an age-related eye disease that can result in considerable vision decline for those who experience it. Macular degeneration occurs when the macula, or center part of the retina, begins to deteriorate.
The macula is an essential part of the retina - it is the portion that allows us to focus and carry out many vision related activities such as reading, driving and making crafts.
Macular degeneration is the leading reason for significant decrease of vision for individuals who are above the age of 60. There are two forms of macular degeneration - wet and dry.
What is dry macular degeneration?
Dry macular degeneration is considered the most common form of this disease and consists of yellow deposits developing over the macula. In dry macular degeneration, blind patches within the line of vision appear due to the yellow deposits.
What is wet macular degeneration?
Those with wet macular degeneration are more prone to severe vision loss because of blood vessels developing in the macula area. In the wet form of macular degeneration, vision is obscured by leaking blood from these irregular blood vessels.
Macular degeneration might not lead to total blindness but it can substantially impact someone's ability to see clearly. There IS treatment available for macular degeneration depending on the form it takes. Dry macular degeneration can't be corrected. However, there is treatment for the wet form of macular degeneration.
Macular Degeneration Symptoms
Some macular degeneration indicators include:
- Straight lines no longer appearing straight;
- An inability to perceive specific shades of color; and
- Dark places in your line of vision, as if a person has set an ink blot test in front of you.
In the event you experience any of these signs, we advise you see your eye doctor right away for further evaluation and to possibly correct the issue. In case your optometrist or ophthalmologist is not readily available, head to the nearest emergency room. The sooner the prognosis is obtained and the problem is addressed, the less likely it is for vision loss to occur.
Though some people are able to identify symptoms earlier on, many don't discover signs the eye disorder has advanced.
Macular degeneration is the top reason for vision loss in those over the age of 60, and this disease shouldn't prompt a "wait and see" strategy. You should immediately alert your optometrist or ophthalmologist to any signs and symptoms and stay up-to-date on your eye exams.
A Macular Degeneration Diagnosis
If you are diagnosed with macular degeneration or if this disease runs in your family, it's important to see an eye doctor on a regular basis in order to monitor any eyesight worsening. Qualified optometrists and ophthalmologists will perform comprehensive eye exams to ensure records of your eye health stay up to date.
It is important to note that another disorder, macular hole, is different and not related to macular degeneration. A macular hole is really a small hole that occurs within the retina.
The signs and symptoms of macular degeneration could be extremely delicate or not apparent in any way when the eye condition is in its earlier stages. This is why it's important to keep up-to-date on your eye exams as an optometrist or ophthalmologist will observe adjustments in your eyes that you can not see.
Primary Macular Degeneration Risk Factors
There are numerous risks associated with macular degeneration, especially age-related macular degeneration. By controlling some of these things, you might be able to decrease the likelihood that you are afflicted with this eye illness that may result in substantial eyesight loss.
The primary threat factor is age. Individuals over 60 are more susceptible to age-related macular degeneration than those who are younger. Unfortunately, macular degeneration is the leading cause of loss of vision for all those above the age of 60.
What are other macular degeneration risk factors?
Be alert for any signs of vision loss if any of these risk factors apply to you:
- High blood pressure
- Vascular disorder
- Caucasian descent
- Diet of high saturated fat
- High cholesterol
- Family history
- Sunlight exposure
If you experience any changes with your eyesight, you should make an appointment for an eye exam with your optometrist or opthalmologist. He or she can examine your eyes for indicators of macular degeneration, as well as a wide variety of other eye diseases.