As you age, the part of the eye that sees fine detail, the macula, begins to deteriorate. If left unchecked, this disease will cause loss of vision. There are 2 forms of macular degeneration: dry and wet.
A common form of eye disease for seniors, dry macular degeneration is a progressive condition that causes blurred or impaired central vision. This occurs due to the cells within the macula breaking down over time. Dry macular degeneration can affect 1 or both eyes and cause your vision to gradually decline over time. Approximately 85-90% of macular degeneration is classified as “dry.”
Affecting about 10-15% of all macular degeneration cases, wet macular degeneration is a disease that causes blurred vision, or a literal blind spot in your field of vision. It is caused by blood vessels that leaks fluid or blood into the macula. Wet macular degeneration is the more severe disease between the 2 types of degenerations due to the rapid nature of degeneration.
Common symptoms of macular degeneration include but are not limited to:
The biggest risk factor for macular degeneration is age. As the body ages, cells begin to break down and risk of disease increases. Some other risk factors are genetics, race, and health. Those people with a family history of macular degeneration are more at risk to develop the disease. Caucasians are more likely to develop this disease versus African-American or Hispanics. Smoking can up to double your risk of developing this condition. Weight and health also play factors in developing macular degeneration, as obesity may push intermediate forms of the disease to more severe forms.
There is no treatment to stop the progression of dry macular degeneration. If detected early, steps can be made to slow the progress of the disease, such as taking vitamins, eating healthy, and not smoking. Treatment for wet macular degeneration consists of slowing the progression of the disease and preserving vision if detected early enough. While medication may be used to stop the growth of the blood vessels that lead to wet macular degeneration, other treatments include:
While options are available to slow the disease, they are not true cures. The best way to prevent macular degeneration from getting worse is to get your eyes examined. Make your appoint at Eye Care One today.
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