Macular degeneration (MD) is an age-related eye disease that usually affects people over the age of 60. The condition occurs when the center part of the retina, or the macula, becomes damaged or declines. The macula is the part of the eye that allows you to see things or images in detail. As the macula becomes damaged, the patient experiences loss of vision or blurring of the eyesight. MD can have a huge effect on your daily life.
There are two types of macular degeneration, Dry and Wet. Dry MD is the more common type, and it progresses slowly, leading to mild vision loss. Wet MD is the more severe type, and it quickly causes vision damage. Dry MD can sometimes progress into wet MD. The exact cause of the condition is unknown, but it is often attributed to the retina not getting enough nutrients. Lack of nutrients causes a breakdown of the supporting tissues and leads to waste materials collecting on the retina. Injury of the light-sensitive eye cells causes blurring of the sight.
There are some things that can increase the risk of someone getting MD. Some of the factors include being over the age of 50, smoking, obesity, hypertension, and genetic predisposition. Having pale skin or skin that is sun-sensitive can increase your risk for MD. Regular exposure to sunlight can also be a cause of MD.
Vision issues can progress quickly or slowly, depending on the individual. You can experience symptoms in one eye or in both. Having a blind spot in your vision can be a symptom of MD. Distorted vision, inability to see colors or details, blurred vision, and worsening of your vision can be signs of MD. If you have trouble seeing in the dark or at night, it can be a sign of the condition. Difficulty reading or seeing in dim light may mean you are experiencing MD.
There are things that you can do to manage the condition. Getting visual rehab can help you to function effectively with your loss of vision. The therapist will suggest ways to ensure your safety at home or in the workplace. There are several assistive devices that can help, including magnifying and corrective glasses, talking computer programs, and large print materials.
Improving the lighting in your home can help you to manage the condition. Choose the best bulbs that will reduce glare. Avoid direct sunlight and always protect your eyes by wearing UV-protection sunglasses when outdoors. Make sure that you eat a healthy diet with plenty of fish and dark leafy vegetables. Avoid smoking and make sure that you get regular eye exams.
To diagnose the condition, the healthcare provider carries out an eye examination. The doctor checks for distorted vision and will take pictures of the eyes. The doctor will look out for problems with the retina or fluid buildup. Treatment can help to slow the progression of the condition or stop it from getting worse. Your healthcare provider can help you to get information about programs and devices that will help to improve your life.
If you want to know more about caring for Macular Degeneration or any other eye condition, visit Pinnacle Eye Group of Lambertville at our offices in Lambertville, Michigan. You can also call (734) 562-0099 to book an appointment.