7 Important Facts About Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a common eye disease that primarily affects seniors. Even though it can be diagnosed in people under the age of 40, it is considered an age-related condition. There are a number of known risk factors for developing macular degeneration besides aging including heredity, hypertension, sedentary lifestyle, and obesity. Recent research shows that diet and nutrition may also play a role in developing the disease. Many seniors experience some vision loss in their sixties and seventies and usually attribute it to a normal part of aging, but it is important to learn some basic facts about this condition. Fortunately, there are some preventative steps seniors can take to reduce their risk of developing this debilitating disease. It is important to understand that there are usually no early symptoms to signal this condition. People may begin to experience a gradual worsening of vision that can occur in one or both eyes prior to onset of macular degeneration. Because this is an incurable eye disease, it is important for seniors to have an ocular examination at regular intervals. Most ophthalmologists recommend an examination every one or two years. Even if no symptoms are present, high-risk seniors should adhere to a stringent examination routine. It is important to report any vision problems immediately and seek medical help as needed. Learning to understand the most important facts about macular degeneration is a positive step in reducing the chance of developing this condition.

What Is Macular Degeneration?

An incurable eye condition occurs when the central portion of the retina begins to deteriorate, usually as a result of age. The retina is located on the inside back layer of the eye. Its primary function is to record images and send messages from the optic nerve to the brain. The central vision in the eye is controlled by the macula that is responsible for focusing everything the eye sees. It is required in order to be able to drive a car, see items in detail, recognize colors and people’s faces, and to have the ability to read. Everyday activities become more difficult. Any task that requires sharp focus is affected. Vision becomes distorted with straight lines becoming curved and out of focus. Color appears dark and dull. The real threat with this condition is that advanced macular degeneration can cause complete vision loss. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of all vision loss. It is considered more serious than cataracts and even glaucoma. Most vision loss can be attributed to macular degeneration. It affects millions of Americans every year. Advanced macular degeneration can cause blood vessels to form scar tissue leading to permanent vision loss.