What is Macular Degeneration of the Eye?
Healthy and properly functioning eyes are something that most people take for granted. We all use our eyes in nearly every moment of every day. However, various health issues can threaten our eyes. One of these conditions is called macular degeneration. The good news is that macular degeneration of the eye can be treated in some cases by visiting your optometrist.
Macular Degeneration Explained
What is macular degeneration of the eye?
Macular degeneration of the eye is when straight vision lines begin to fail or become distorted. This loss of vision is due to either age or blood vessels in the eye leaking fluids into the macula (part of the retina). Early detection and self-care may help delay vision loss.
If you believe you are experiencing trouble with your straight sight vision, you can visit an optometrist for a diagnosis. In addition, an optometrist will help you put together a self-care plan to help you combat vision loss.
There are two primary types of macular degeneration:
- Dry Macular Degeneration
- Wet Macular Degeneration
Dry Macular Degeneration
Dry macular degeneration is simply caused by aging. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is most common in people over the age of 60, and over 80% of all cases of macular degeneration are the dry variety.
This form of macular degeneration does not often cause total blindness. If only one eye is affected, then your overall vision may not be dramatically impacted as the other eye will begin to take up the slack.
Wet Macular Degeneration
Wet macular degeneration is caused by abnormal blood vessels that leak fluid into the macula. The macula is part of the retina and helps make up the eye area that is responsible for central vision or straight line of sight.
Like above, this form of macular generation does not often cause complete blindness. In addition, wet macular degeneration is the lesser of the two forms of degeneration. While most common in people over the age of 60, an optometrist can help diagnose this issue.
Macular Degeneration Risk Factors
Here are some of the risk factors associated with developing macular degeneration of the eye.
- Age 60+
- Cardiovascular Disease
The Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
While two forms of macular degeneration of the eye exist, the symptoms are quite similar. Let's take a look.
- Difficulty Seeing Straight Lines
- Blurred Vision
- Increased Blurriness Of Printed Words
- Colours Appear Faded
- Blurry Spots Or Blind Spots In Vision
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with an optometrist to get a diagnosis as soon as possible. The earlier you begin treating macular degeneration, the greater the likelihood you can successfully delay vision loss.
Preventing Macular Degeneration
The good news is that there are some things you can do to help prevent and delay the onset of macular degeneration:
- Routine Eye Exams
- Manage Medical Conditions
- Quit Smoking
- Eat More Fish
- Maintain A Healthy Weight
- Eat Fruits & Vegetables
Your first step in preventing macular degeneration is routine eye exams. Seeing your optometrist regularly can help detect symptoms early, which will allow you to start making the life changes and taking the medications you need to help slow down and prevent issues.
Managing medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure can help slow down and prevent issues related to the eyes because one of the root causes of macular degeneration is blood vessels in the eyes.
Furthermore, if you can quit smoking, you increase your chances of never developing macular degeneration. Smokers are more likely to have macular degeneration than non-smokers. Consult with your physician for help to stop smoking.
Take Action Now! Visit Your Optometrist
In conclusion, macular degeneration of the eye is a serious and degenerative condition.
If you schedule regular appointments with your optometrist (we recommend Optiko Eyewear), you can help catch the problem early and make the life changes, as well as take the medications necessary to help slow down and even prevent the problem from affecting your everyday life.
Work with your physician and optometrist to quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, take omega-three fatty acids, and maintain a healthy diet. In addition to any medications prescribed by your physician, you can begin to treat the problem before it becomes too severe.
Did you find this article helpful? Share your thoughts with friends...