Menu

Vision & Hearing

What Is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is a chronic optical condition that causes loss of vision in the center of the patient���s optic field. It does not have a cure. But if this condition is diagnosed early enough, steps can be taken to reduce its impact. The eye has three main layers: retina (nerves in the back), choroid (blood supply in the middle) and sclera (whites of the eyes in the front). The macula is in the retina���s central area, a layer of tissue on the back wall of the eyeball. If the macula degenerates, the field of vision for which its responsible will lose its abilities concomitantly.

Risk factors
It occurs in seniors, usually afflicting people over 50 years of age, as the cells of the macula weaken. Your biological inheritance largely determines whether you are at high-risk for macular degeneration. The Macular Degeneration Association explains that particular genes are strongly associated with a person���s risk. High cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity all increase your chances, as does smoking. The condition is also more prevalent among Caucasians than other races. Women are also more susceptible than men.

Dry and wet macular degeneration
Dry macular degeneration is the more common form. It causes blurred vision and partial blindness but is not accompanied by any swelling. Another form of the condition is wet macular degeneration, which is caused by leaky and unsecure blood vessels in the back of the eye. In both, the macula loses its power to function properly. However, wet macular degeneration causes faster vision loss.

Symptoms
There are certain visual cues that may indicate early macular degeneration. You should see a doctor if you have difficulty perceiving the nuances of colors and contrasts. The Mayo Clinic reports that any of the following may stem from this condition: perpetual need for more reading light, difficultly adapting to environments with different light levels, increased blurriness or difficulty recognizing faces. A blind spot in the center of your vision field signals that you have fully developed this condition. In some severe cases hallucinations may occur.

Preventing further deterioration
The incessantly bleeding and swelling of wet form deterioration may be halted through laser treatment. This will cause a scar that will cause a permanent blind spot. That section of vision is sacrificed to preserve the rest of the eye. Unfortunately, there is no ultimate cure for macular degeneration. It can potentially be halted through the use of vitamins and drugs. The National Eye Institute recommends a vitamin regimen that includes vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, zinc oxide and copper. The Macular Degeneration Association reports that certain prescription drugs���such as Macugen, Lucentis and Avastin���could halt the progression of vision loss. A�� doctor can also implant a telescopic lens in your eye, magnifying your vision.

From Around the Web