1.What is Macular Degeneration?
A common eye disorder which is known to cause central loss of vision is known as macular degeneration. Central vision is what an individual sees when they are looking straight ahead of them. Since it affects only the central vision, it does not cause total blindness.
There are two different types of Macular Degeneration that we know about which has been mentioned below for your understanding:
- Dry macular degeneration – this is the common one and affects 80-90% people who are affected by this.
- Wet macular degeneration
Macular Degeneration Symptoms
This is a progressive disease which gets worse as time passes. The Macular Degeneration symptoms that first occurs is vision problems which the individual will start realising in the early stages. As both eyes get affected, there will be more vision changes. Apart from this, some of the other common symptoms across the two that people experience has been listed below for your understanding:
- Reduction in central vision
- Hazy vision
- A need for brighter lighting
- A blurry spot right in the middle of vision
- Difficulty in adapting to dull lights
- Difficulty in recognizing faces
If you feel that you are having any sort of problems with your vision then immediately you must consult a Macular Degeneration doctor.
2.Who is at Risk?
There are certain Macular Degeneration risk factors that an individual should be aware about. We have mentioned them below for your reference:
- Individuals who are over weight
- If you eat a diet that is high is saturated fats
- If you have had the habit of smoking
- An individual who is above the age of 50
- Someone who has hypertension
- An individual with a family history of macular degeneration
It must be kept in mind that Macular Degeneration does not happen overnight. These are some red flags that one should be cautious against and take precautions for.
Macular Degeneration Causes
The Macular Degeneration causes are dependant on which type you have been affected by. Common causes across the two types that experts have been able to identify include:
- When bits of protein and fat called drusen get collected under your retina which is a tissue at the back of your eye which processes light. They are understood to be pieces of waste that comes from the retina.
- When extra blood vessels start to form in the eye area which is underneath the macula. They tend to leak blood and types of fluid in the eye causing damage.
3.How is Macular Degeneration diagnosed?
For Macular Degeneration diagnosis it is best to have an eye exam every year even if your vision appears normal. There are certain Macular Degeneration tests that a doctor will conduct to get to the root of the problem.
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT) – in this there is a special photograph that is developed which shows a magnified 3D image of the retina. This helps the doctor to see if the retinal layers are distorted or not. Swellings can also be detected.
- Fluorescein angiography – in this a dye is injected in the vein in your arm. As the dye reaches your eye and then flows through the blood vessels of the retina, a photograph is taken.
4.How is Macular Degeneration treated?
The Macular Degeneration treatment depends on the type.
- Working with a low vision rehabilitation specialist
- Surgery to help improve vision
- Photodynamic therapy
These are various medicine for macular degeneration that an individual will be given depending on the doctor’s advice.
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5.How can Macular Degeneration be prevented?
Macular Degeneration prevention has not exactly been discovered by experts. However, there are things that can be done to prevent it:
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
- Quitting smoking
- Maintaining a healthy BMI and weight
- Eating a healthy diet, one that is low on saturated fats
- Getting sufficient movement and exercise daily
- Getting regular dilated exams done
It is always best to consult a doctor for further preventive measures and be aware of any symptoms that you feel are showing up. The earlier you get the treatment, the better it is for you and your health.