Macular Degeneration Dangers: What Patients Should Know
At Choate Eye Associates, we have helped countless patients in and around the greater Nashville area who are dealing with age-related eye conditions. By diagnosing and treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD) as well as other eye health issues, we have helped many patients maintain their vision into advanced age. Since AMD is a serious problem faced by many Americans, we'd like to go over the basics of this issue right now.
What is macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in people age 55 and older. Macular degeneration involves the loss of central vision due to damage to the central portion of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.
Macular degeneration is incurable, but treatments can prevent or slow the progression of the condition.
Types of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration can occur in wet and dry forms. Dry macular degeneration is more common, experienced by 90 percent of individuals who develop the condition.
Dry macular degeneration is caused by deposits of drusen in the macula, the central portion of the retina. Wet macular degeneration is caused by the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina that leads to bleeding and retinal damage.
Causes of Macular Degeneration
The most common causes of macular degeneration are advanced age and genetics. People who have a family history if macular degeneration run a much greater risk of the condition developing over time.
Macular Degeneration Risk Factors
Risk factors of macular degeneration include:
- History of smoking
- Gender (more likely in women)
- Race/ethnicity (more likely in Caucasians)
- Prolonged exposure to the sun
- Poor diet
- Low activity level
Signs and Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
The most common signs and symptoms of macular degeneration tend to involve major changes in your vision. Changes in color perception and contrast sensitivity as well as blurriness and haziness are issues linked to macular degeneration. In addition, it is not uncommon for people suffering from macular degeneration to experience a loss in central vision due to retinal damage.
It's important that you undergo regular eye exams, particularly in middle-age and during your golden years, in order to have issues such as macular degeneration properly diagnosed and treated.
Treatments for Macular Degeneration
The most common treatments for macular degeneration tend to involve medications and special vitamin supplements. These are designed to halt or slow down the progression of the condition.
In addition to medications and nutritional supplements, lifestyle modifications are a common means of addressing the progression of macular degeneration. This usually involves improving a person's diet, helping a person quit smoking, and incorporating exercise into a person's daily routine.
Macular Degeneration Prevention
In order to prevent age-related macular degeneration from occurring, the following tips for prevention are suggested:
- Quit smoking or just don't start
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Wear sunglasses and a hat with a brim when outdoors
- Get eye exams regularly, particularly as you grow older
Speak with the Team at Choate Eye Associates
For more information about macular degeneration and how it can be treated, it's important that you contact our team of vision and eye care doctors today. At Choate Eye Associates, we will be more than happy to answer your questions about vision and eye health.