For those over the age of 50, macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss. This causes reduced vision in the center of your line of sight. Early prevention and treatment are essential for managing this condition. At your comprehensive eye exam, our doctors may recommend additional testing that provides them more information about if you have risk factors for, or early signs of macular degeneration.
What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is defined as the deterioration of the retina center, known as the macula. Your retina is located on the back of the eyeball and its job is to receive images from the surrounding environment for the brain to interpret and understand.
There are two forms of macular degeneration: wet and dry. The most common kind is dry, being found in approximately 90% of cases.
During dry macular degeneration, yellow deposits called drusen (buildup of extracellular proteins and lipids) form underneath the macula, deteriorating this portion of the retina. In wet macular degeneration, vessels grow abnormally underneath the macula. These vessels leak fluid and can cause the macula to bulge and scar. If there is leakage in the back of the eye, it is critical to catch and treat early.
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
There are several risk factors associated with higher odds of developing this condition including:
- Fair skin color
- Known family history of macular degeneration
- Those age 50 and above
- Elevated blood pressure
How to Prevent Macular Degeneration
It is recommended that anyone concerned about developing this condition make healthy lifestyle changes such as:
- Balanced diet
- Regular exercise
- Reduced smoking and reduced exposure to smoke
- Wearing proper sunglasses
- Managing blood pressure
What is the Best Treatment Method for Macular Degeneration?
Your doctor will make treatment recommendations depending on if you have dry or wet macular degeneration and how advanced it is. The most important thing is to have your eyes examined yearly for any changes related to macular degeneration.