Macular degeneration

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration (MD) is one of the most common eye disorders affecting older Americans. In fact, an estimated 13 million Americans are impacted by MD, which is more people than both glaucoma and cataracts combined. MD is also the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 55, with a new case diagnosed every three minutes. One of the best ways to prevent MD from developing is by getting a comprehensive eye exam. Because this particular eye disease occurs when there are changes to the macula (the part of the retina found inside the back layer of the eye), early detection is key. Unfortunately, the majority of age-related MD cases are considered the “dry” form, for which there is no cure or treatment. Wet macular degeneration, albeit less common, may be treated with laser procedures and medication injections if caught early on.

Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Individuals may display the following symptoms of age-related macular degeneration in the early stages:
- Gradual loss of ability to focus on objects and see clearly
- Distorted shape of objects
- Straight lines appear crooked or wavy
- Loss of clear color vision
- Dark area in the center of vision

If you are suffering from any of the above, there’s a chance you may have macular degeneration. Unfortunately, central vision loss that is associated with macular degeneration cannot be restored. However, we do have numerous low-vision options - such as telescopic and microscopic lenses - that can maximize your remaining vision.

While macular degeneration can affect anyone, the following risk factors may increase your chance of developing the disease:

- Smoking
- High-saturated fat diets
- Lack of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and lutein
- Lack of exercise
- Gene mutations or variations
- Heredity
- Presence of age-related macular degeneration in one eye
- Eye color (people with light-colored eyes are more likely to develop the dry type of MD)
- High blood pressure
- Obesity
- Prolonged sun exposure