Macular degeneration is a disease that affects your eyes. When you look at the center of your retina, there you will find the macula. It has extreme sensitivity to light. It’s a tissue that is positioned in the rear of your eye. Your macula is what allows you to have vision right in front of you. It’s what gives you central vision.
For most people, macular degeneration happens after age 60. Macular degeneration, when it is connected to age, is a painless condition. Macular degeneration comes in two forms. There is a dry age-related macular degeneration and a wet one.
While there is no one single factor that leads to macular degeneration, researchers have seen a link between unhealthy lifestyle choices and the prevalence of macular degeneration. Some of these things include smoking, having a diet that has a lot of saturated fats, obesity, and high blood pressure.
When a person first gets macular degeneration, they notice that their vision is slightly blurred. In order to read, they might need brighter lights than they needed before. With time, they find it hard to recognize a person’s face, unless the person is standing right in front of them. As the disease advances, people start to notice a blurred spot right in the center of their field of vision. When a patient has wet macular degeneration, they see what appears to be wavy lines and straight lines.
If a patient has dry age-related macular degeneration, there are steps that can be taken to slow the progression of the illness. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, there are no cures for this form of macular degeneration. Patients who have wet age-related macular degeneration may be able to reverse or stop the condition, depending on how far it has advanced when it is first diagnosed and when they first receive treatment.
Other causes for macular degeneration include genetic abnormalities. For some patients, the disease progresses rapidly. For others, the disease takes a more slower pace. Everyone battling with macular degeneration eventually sees a decrease in their ability to drive, to read, and to recognize others.
One of the insidious things about the nature of age-related macular degeneration is that because it happens so gradually, most patients don’t notice a change in their vision until the disease has progressed to a very serious level.
It is rare for age-related macular degeneration to just affect one eye. It usually affects both eyes. However, the vision loss may vary greatly between the eyes.
The earlier that macular degeneration is caught, the better the outcome can be for patients. This underscores the importance of visiting an eye doctor regularly. Even if you think that your vision is perfect and it hasn’t changed, you still might be suffering from macular degeneration. The progression may be so slow that you don’t notice it.
Regular checkups will give our doctor at Wichita Vision Institute the time needed to identify the problem early and create a treatment plan that is designed specifically to help you see better.