Macular Degeneration is currently the leading cause of vision loss, especially in the older age group, is a progressive disease meaning that it’ll get worse over time.
Macular Degeneration occurs as a result of the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, which is the inside back layer of the eye that records the images seen and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain for interpretation. The retina’s central portion (macula), is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye, and it controls our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces or colors, and see objects in fine detail.
The fact that it affects mostly older adults makes it to be also known as Age-related Macular Degeneration.
Damage caused by AMD can interfere with:
here are two types of macular degeneration: Dry and Wet.
Dry macular degeneration affects about 85 to 90 percent of people with the condition. It occurs due to small yellow deposits called drusen developing under the macula. Wet macular degeneration affects the remaining 10 to 15 percent. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels develop under the retina and macula.
There are three stages viz:
Early AMD – Most people do not experience vision loss in the early stage of AMD, which is why regular eye exams are important, particularly if you have more than one risk factor (see below). Early AMD is diagnosed by the presence of medium-sized drusen (yellow deposits beneath the retina).
Intermediate AMD – At this stage, there may be some vision loss, but they’re still may not be noticeable symptoms. A comprehensive eye examination with specific tests will look for larger drusen and/or pigment changes in the retina.
Late AMD – At this stage, vision loss has become complete and noticeable.
This depends on the type of macular degeneration, whether wet or dry. Dry degeneration symptoms include a reduction in central vision, a distortion of straight lines in your field of vision, the need for brighter lightening, difficulty adapting to low lights, blurriness, trouble recognizing faces, and retinal damage.
Wet degeneration symptoms also involve most of that of dry degeneration, and also include blurry spots in the field of vision, dark spots in the central vision due to blood vessels bleeding or leaking fluid, having a hazy vision, and also rapidly worsening symptoms.
Wet macular degeneration progresses more quickly than dry macular degeneration.
The specific factors causing macular degeneration are not conclusively known. However, there are a known number of risk factors some of which include:
Visit an Ophthalmologist when you have symptoms as described above, and your doctor would then carry out a comprehensive eye exam.
Sadly, there is no cure for wet or dry AMD although treatments can help slow or stop the disease from getting worse.
Some of these treatments include a regimen of vitamins that slow the progression. Research hasn’t determined a way to prevent macular degeneration. However, you can help reduce your risk for the disease by maintaining a healthy lifestyle like quitting smoking if you smoke, eating a healthy diet as often as possible, maintaining a moderate weight, and exercising as much as possible.