Did you just find out that you or a loved one has macular degeneration? Or concerned you or a loved one may be developing this eye condition? This article will help you get an insight of what macular degeneration is, and what symptoms you should look out for.
Macular degeneration is actually scary and dangerous. It is the leading cause of vision loss. And it’s actually more common than people might think. In fact, macular degeneration affects more than 10 million Americans. What makes it scary is that, at least for now, there is no cure available for it.
Macular degeneration has two main types: dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration is more common, affecting 85% to 90% of cases. The wet type, on the other hand, affects 10% to 15% of cases.
Symptoms of dry macular degeneration may include:
- Retinal damage
- Blurred vision
- Need for brighter lighting
- Trouble recognizing faces
- Distortion of straight lines
- Reduced central vision.
On the other hand, wet macular degeneration symptoms include:
- Hazy vision
- Dark spots appearing in the center of your vision
- Blurry spots
- Rapidly worsening symptoms
Main Causes of Macular Degeneration
The main cause of macular degeneration is deterioration of the central portion of the retina. As you may know, the retina is the inside back layer of the eye that records images we see. The retina sends signals to the brain through the optic nerves.
Now, the retina’s central portion, the macula, is responsible for focusing the central vision in our eyes. The macula controls the majority of our vision, and it affects our ability to see, read, recognize faces and colors, drive, see in fine details, and pretty much everything.
The macula is highly sensitive, so it must be taken care of. The cells of the macula deteriorates, too. When this happens, the images are not received correctly, and it affects a person’s vision.
Initially, as the cells of the macula deteriorates, the vision is not affected. However, as the disease progresses, a person’s central vision may slowly start to get lost.
Those who are diagnosed with advanced macular degeneration are considered to be legally blind. However, because the rest of the retina remains to work, a person will still maintain their peripheral vision. It’s the central vision the person will have trouble with.
Macular Degeneration Treatments
Currently, there are no known cures for this conditions. However, there are macular degeneration treatments available. They are:
- Laser Photocoagulation
- Anti-VEGF Therapy
- Nutritional Therapy
- Medications including Avastin, Eylea and Lucentis
- Low Vision Rehab