4 Things to Know About Macular Degeneration

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As people get older, they start facing new challenges with their eyesight. One relatively common issue that older people can develop is an eye condition called macular degeneration. 

This eye condition affects as many as 11 million Americans in some form. Keep reading to learn 4 things you should know about macular degeneration!

1. What Macular Degeneration Does to Your Vision

Macular degeneration occurs when the central part of the retina, known as the macula, begins to thin and deteriorate. This tissue contains many light-sensitive cells that are necessary for good eyesight. 

As the tissue breaks down, you begin to lose the central part of your vision. You can maintain your peripheral vision, but anything you focus on will seem washed out and dim. 

You may begin to notice that you have difficulty recognizing faces or require additional light for doing close-up work. Colors will seem less colorful, and you may see some distortions to your vision, such as straight lines looking wavy or bent.

2. There Are Two Kinds of Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a progressive disease. It gets worse as time goes on, but you should be aware of two distinct phases of the condition. The first type is dry macular degeneration.

Dry macular degeneration is the more common of the two types. It is less severe as well. 

It progresses slowly and is accompanied by the symptoms listed above, but you won’t necessarily lose all of your eyesight. 

On the other hand, Wet macular degeneration can cause vision loss very quickly. It only accounts for about 10% of macular degeneration cases but is more likely to make you legally blind. 

Wet macular degeneration has its name because it causes blood vessels to leak underneath the retina, causing fluid to spill and build up beneath the surface. 

Dry macular degeneration can progress and worsen without becoming wet macular degeneration. It is also possible for early-stage dry macular degeneration to suddenly change into the wet form.     

3. Dry Macular Degeneration is Slow and Painless 

Dry macular degeneration is one of those issues that is difficult to catch in time, as you may not even realize there is something wrong until you lose a significant amount of vision. You won’t feel anything as it is happening, and you’ll get used to your vision as it degrades. 

Because you can suffer severe vision loss without realizing it, this is why regular eye exams are so important. They become even more crucial as you get older. 

Your eye doctor will be able to monitor your vision and look for signs of a degrading macula, giving you a chance to manage it before it gets out of hand. 

4. Macular Degeneration is Irreversible

There is no cure for macular degeneration. It is also irreversible. You can take certain vitamin supplements to slow down the progression of the eye condition. 

You can also have anti-VEGF injections, which can slow down the progression of wet AMD. Although you can slow down its progression, you cannot regain any vision you’ve already lost. 

It’s also always a good idea to do your best to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Although it is unclear what causes macular degeneration, smoking drastically increases your risk of developing it, so quit if you’re a smoker. 

Are you looking for more information about macular degeneration? Schedule an appointment at Stahl Eyecare Experts in Garden City, NY, today!

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