For those over the age of 50, macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss. This disease renders your vision blurred on the peripherals permanently. At Eyesite, we encourage our patients to schedule recurring exams to test for macular degeneration. Early prevention and treatment are essential for managing this condition.
What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is defined as the deterioration of the retina center, known as the macula. Your retina is located on the back of the eyeball and its job is to receive images from the surrounding environment for the brain to interpret and understand.
The macula helps to focus light so that you can see clearly.
There are two forms of macular degeneration: wet and dry. The most common kind is dry, being found in approximately 90% of cases.
During dry macular degeneration, yellow deposits called drusen (buildup of extracellular proteins and lipids) form underneath the macula, deteriorating this portion of the retina. In wet macular degeneration, vessels grow abnormally underneath the macula. These vessels leak fluid and can cause the macula to bulge and scar.
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
Little is known about this disease, except for several risk factors associated with higher odds of developing this condition. Causes include:
- Being Caucasian
- Any family history of macular degeneration
- Being age 55 and over
How to Prevent Macular Degeneration
Since eye doctors are unsure of the exact causes behind macular degeneration, it is recommended that anyone concerned about developing this condition make eye-smart lifestyle changes such as:
- Balanced diet
- Regular exercise
- Reduced smoking and reduced exposure to smoke
- Wearing proper sunglasses
- Managing blood pressure
What is the Best Treatment Method for Macular Degeneration?
In the early stages of macular degeneration, individuals will usually have no noticeable symptoms. This is why it is vital to get regularly tested. Your doctor can recommend antioxidants and supplements to help reduce the spread of the disease, but once the condition has progressed far enough there is little that can be done to improve your vision. For wet macular degeneration, your eye doctor may suggest the use of Photodynamic Therapy (PTD) or Anti-VEGF Therapy.
If you are experiencing macular degeneration symptoms or are over the age of 55 and have any of the risk factors mentioned above, consult with the eye doctors at Eyesite to get tested.