Macular degeneration (MD) is an incurable eye disease and the leading cause of vision loss. This condition is caused when there is deterioration of the macula, located in the central region of the retina. The condition affects the capability of the macula, which is in charge of facial and color recognition and the ability to read.
There are two types:
- Dry macular degeneration. The most common type, which is classified by tiny clumps of proteins that grow on parts of the macula, making the region thinner with age.
- Wet macular degeneration. While less common, wet macular degeneration is often more serious. It is classified by abnormal blood vessels that grow and leak fluids under the retina, scarring of the macula.
Some treatment options are available to help patients manage their condition.
What Are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?
If you discover any symptoms of macular degeneration, you should visit your eye doctor so that they can prescribe the right treatment. The following are typical symptoms of MD:
- Disrupted or blurry central vision, particularly vision loss of detailed vision or wavy or distorted straight lines.
- Blind spots and partial vision loss.
- Difficulty distinguishing foreground objects from background objects.
- Trouble seeing in settings where there is dimmed lighting.
- The appearance of objects is smaller in one eye than the other.
Can Macular Degeneration Cause Blindness?
Not typically. It is very rare to suffer full blindness from wet or dry macular degeneration. But a patient’s central vision can degrade to the point where they have 20/200 vision and are legally blind.
What Causes Macular Degeneration? Can It Be Prevented?
Unfortunately, not much can be done to prevent macular degeneration in many patients. Its risk can be limited, and it can be managed through dietary measures and healthy lifestyle. Cutting out smoking or a high-fat diet can provide needed oxygen delivery to the retina and slow the development of the disease. Exercise and a diet rich in antioxidants can reduce the risk of oxidative damage associated with this condition.
Can Macular Degeneration Be Treated or Reversed?
There is no cure for this condition. Some patients can effectively manage the condition through laser treatments and drugs that stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina. Some macular degeneration surgery options also exist for patients.
By visiting their optometrist, patients can get the best prevention tips and learn about treatment options. To learn more, contact us today.