Friday, December 9, 2022

Macular Degeneration: Everything You Need to Know

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Macular degeneration is a condition that affects the macula, which is located in the center of the retina. The macula is responsible for central vision, which allows us to see detail and recognise colors. Macular degeneration can lead to a loss of vision and even blindness. In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about macular degeneration!

What Causes Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the macula. The exact cause of this deterioration is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Who is at Risk for Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is most common in older adults. Other risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of macular degeneration

What are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?

Symptoms of macular degeneration typically develop slowly and may not be noticed until vision is significantly affected. Early symptoms include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty seeing fine detail
  • Need more light to see
  • Difficulty seeing in low-light conditions

Central vision loss is the most common symptom of macular degeneration. This can cause problems with everyday activities such as reading, driving and recognising faces. Central vision loss cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

How is Macular Degeneration Diagnosed?

Macular degeneration is typically diagnosed during a routine eye exam. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. They will also perform a dilated eye exam to examine the health of your retina and macula. Imaging tests, such as optical coherence tomography (OCT), may also be performed.

How is Macular Degeneration Treated?

There is no cure for macular degeneration, but there are treatments that can slow the progression of the disease and help preserve vision. These treatments include:

  • Anti-VEGF injections: These injections are used to treat wet macular degeneration. They work by blocking a protein that promotes the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye.
  • Laser surgery: This surgery is used to treat wet macular degeneration. It involves using a laser to destroy abnormal blood vessels in the eye.
  • Vitamins and minerals: Taking certain vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, copper, and vitamins C and E, may help slow the progression of macular degeneration.

What is the Prognosis for Macular Degeneration?

The prognosis for macular degeneration varies depending on the type and severity of the condition. For most people with early-stage macular degeneration, vision loss is minimal. However, macular degeneration can progress to the point where central vision is severely affected. This can make it difficult to perform everyday activities such as reading, driving and recognising faces.

If you have any symptoms of macular degeneration, it is important to see an eye doctor for a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Early diagnosis and treatment are the best way to slow the progression of the disease and preserve vision.

Conclusion

Macular degeneration is a serious eye condition that can lead to vision loss and even blindness. However, there are treatments available that can help slow the progression of the disease and preserve vision. If you have any symptoms of macular degeneration, it is important to see an eye doctor for a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

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