Macular Degeneration Symptoms and Causes
By Walter Choate on June 18, 2013
As people age, they have new vision care needs that need to be met. This is especially true in advanced age, when very serious vision problems become more likely. While cataracts and presbyopia are both relatively well known, there's one vision problem for older individuals that is very serious and that many people do not seem to be as knowledgeable about: macular degeneration.
Our team of optometrists and eye care specialists would like to take a few moments right now to go over the basics of macular degeneration so you understand what is at stake and what symptoms you should look out for so that you can be checked right away.
About Macular Degeneration
Also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the condition refers to the deterioration of the macula, which is the central part of the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. It is one of the leading causes of severe vision loss and blindness in adults over the age of 50, and it becomes more likely as a person gets older.
Types of Macular Degeneration
In order for our eye care specialists serving Nashville to provide patients with the best possible treatment, we will first need to determine which type of macular degeneration a patient is suffering from. There are two kinds:
- Dry macular degeneration - Dry macular degeneration is the most common type of macular degeneration. This invovles the thinning and atrophy of the macula, resulting in gradual vision loss.
- Wet macular degeneration - Wet macular degeneration is a more rare form of macular degeneration. An estimated 10% of people who suffer from AMD experience wet macular degeneration. Wet macular degeneration is caused by abnormal blood vessel growth that results in blood leakage into the retina. This will eventually lead to vision distortions and vision loss.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
The most common symptoms of macular degeneration are:
- Dim central vision
- Blurry central vision
- Dark spots in central vision
- Changes in color sensitivity and perception
These symptoms may be hard to spot in early stages of the condition, but be sure to remain attentive to changes in your eyesight. As with many other eye diseases, early detection and treatment is ideal.
Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration
Risk factors for macular degeneration include:
- Family history of macular degeneration
- Genetic predisposition
- High blood pressure/hypertension
- High cholesterol
- Ethnicity (the condition is more likely in Caucasians)
Treating Macular Degeneration
There are many vision correction options for treating macular degeneration, though we should stress that the condition is irreversible. The treatments will only be able to halt or slow down the vision loss rather than restore vision. Some common treatments for macular degeneration include vitamin therapy, drugs that prevent the formation of new blood vessels, and laser eye therapy.
Schedule a Consultation for Macular Degeneration
If you would like to learn more about macular degeneration and other serious eye conditions, be sure to contact our Goodlettsville eye care center today. Our entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve excellent vision in the process.
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“I am very pleased with the attention I received at Choate Eye Associates. Dr. Choate is very thorough and does a wonderful job of explaining what he is doing and what he is looking for in the exam.” Dianal - Comprehensive Eye Care Patient