Some medical conditions arise as you age. For others without proper eye care, the conditions can start much earlier. One of these conditions is macular degeneration. It worsens with time, and it can lead to blindness. Here are some facts that will help you understand more about macular degeneration.
It is a chronic condition that arises from a metabolic disorder. It can affect either one or both of your eyes. Macular degeneration develops in the macula, which is in the retinal area of the eye. It damages and wears down this part’s nerve cells. These cells are crucial for seeing sharp images. Damage to these cells causes blurry vision, making it increasingly difficult to perform daily activities. Eventually, it leads to vision loss.
There are two types of macular degeneration—wet and dry. Some people will start with the dry version. Later, it develops into the wet type.
It is the most common type. It may cause yellow deposits or drusen in the macula. These may not be a reason for concern. But if they are big and numerous, drusen can distort or dim vision. Dry macular degeneration happens in three stages—early, intermediate, and late. The condition progresses slowly over several years.
There is no treatment for late dry macular degeneration. But if the doctor catches the condition in its early or intermediate stages, he/she can help you cope. If you have late macular degeneration in one eye, the doctor can help you protect the other. It’s why regular comprehensive eye exams are vital.
Doctors also refer to it as advanced neovascular macular degeneration. It can appear at any stage of dry macular degeneration. It happens when there is an abnormal growth of blood vessels in the posterior of the eye.
The growth damages the macula as the vessels leak blood and fluid into the macula. Your vision distorts, causing straight lines to look wavy. The abnormal blood vessels can cause scars, which cause permanent loss of central vision.
You may not notice the symptoms from the early stages since it takes time before they are visible. Some people may not experience any in the intermediate part too. But when they become evident, you will experience the following:
Trouble seeing in low lighting
Straight lines look wavy
The colors seem less bright
See a doctor right away when you notice these symptoms.
Older people are at risk of developing macular degeneration, especially those above age 55. Other people at risk include smokers and those with a family history of macular degeneration. The list may also extend to certain medical conditions.
Practice healthy habits to avoid macular degeneration or reduce the risk. Some of these practices include:
Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays
Maintain your cholesterol and blood pressure levels
Eat a balanced diet
Maintain a healthy weight
For more information on macular degeneration, visit Grand Eye Care at our office in River Grove, Illinois. Call (708) 816-2020 to book an appointment today.