What is it?
Macular degeneration is a very serious eye condition, and one of the leading causes of blindness and vision impairment. This disease usually occurs in people over the age of 50, but can begin to develop as young as 40. The eye condition typically manifests with only mild symptoms, such as slight blurriness or vision distortion, and progressively gets worse. Risk factors for macular degeneration can include genetic disposition, age, increased blood pressure, obesity, smoking and high cholesterol. Prevention steps and regular eye exams can go a long way toward keeping the devastating effects of macular degeneration at bay.
Prevention is one of the best things you can do to reduce the risks of macular degeneration. A healthy diet is a good first step: fish and green leafy vegetables can be very helpful. Vitamins with high levels of certain antioxidants (E, C, A, and beta-carotene with zinc) have been found to offer significant benefits when it comes to reducing the likelihood of macular degeneration.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration The symptoms of macular degeneration will get worse over time, which makes it extremely important to have an eye exam as soon as you notice anything even slightly wrong with your vision. Symptoms may include: Blurriness Difficulty seeing light or dark colors Blind spots in central vision Loss of visual acuity Visual distortions Objects that have straight lines looking slightly bent Size or color of certain objects not looking the same in each of your eyes
-Increased blood pressure
Dry macular degeneration is the most common type of this condition. Although there are currently no viable treatment options for dry macular degeneration, the condition is typically very slow to progress. Visual aids and certain vitamin therapies may be able to reduce some of the symptoms and preserve as much central vision as possible for some patients. Regular eye exams and consistent monitoring is very important to prevent dry macular degeneration from becoming a serious threat to your overall vision.
Wet (neovascular) macular degeneration is the most serious type. It can develop and progress extraordinarily fast. Caused by the abnormal formation of blood vessels and subsequent leakage of blood or fluid between the layers of the retina, wet macular degeneration can result in permanent tissue damage. Central vision loss and reduction in the ability to see fine details can be effects of wet macular degeneration. If wet macular degeneration occurs in one eye, the risk of it affecting the other eye is increased. There are some treatments available (described below) that can slow vision loss and even improve eyesight for patients affected by wet macular degeneration; however, early diagnosis is vital.