The macula is a part of the eye located in the center of the retina. It helps your eye create sharp images in your central vision. The macula can start to deteriorate over time, which causes gradual vision loss. This medical condition is called macular degeneration. It currently affects millions of people in the United States, and it is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50.
Since macular degeneration develops slowly and does not present any painful symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages of the condition. The most common symptoms associated with the condition are blurriness, blind spots in your central vision, decreased color brightness, an inability to see in low light and hazy vision. If you start to notice any of these symptoms, then you need to get your eyes checked as soon as possible. Early treatment is the best way to prevent further deterioration of your vision.
There are two types of macular degeneration, dry and wet. While they present the same symptoms, they are caused by completely different things. Dry macular degeneration is the most common form of the disease, and it occurs when yellow deposits behind the retina cause the macula to dislodge from its normal location. If these deposits get large enough, then the eye may become discolored.
Wet macular degeneration is caused when abnormal blood vessels start to grow underneath the retina. The leaking blood and fluid from these abnormal blood vessels will quickly damage and swell the macula. Wet macular degeneration is much more serious than dry, and it can lead to rapid vision loss if left untreated.
A vision test, dilated eye exam and angiogram will likely be performed to diagnose your macular degeneration. Once you have been diagnosed with the disease, you will be encouraged to start treatment as soon as possible. While there is not currently a cure for the condition, proper treatment can slow the progression of your vision loss.
Dry macular degeneration is commonly treated by taking high doses of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper. These vitamins and chemicals will slow the growth of the yellow deposits causing the damage to your macula.
Wet macular degeneration may be treated using surgery or laser therapy. A special laser may be used to destroy the damaged blood vessels leaking blood in the eye. An intense light may be shined directly into the eye, which causes the drug to destroy the abnormal blood vessels causing your vision problems.
Since there is no cure for this condition, you may need to make some lifestyle changes to make it easier to live with the disease. Wearing magnifying glasses and adding more lighting in your home are the best ways to see with macular degeneration.
If you believe that you may have this condition, make an appointment at Wichita Vision Institute in Wichita, Kansas. Our team is committed to helping patients see their very best. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.