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Macular Degeneration

What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is a disease that affects the macula. The macula allows you to focus on things that you are looking at and see them more clearly. When the macula does not work properly your central vision can be blurry and you may have areas that are dark or distorted. Macular degeneration affects your ability to see near and far, and can make some activities like threading a needle or reading difficult or impossible. Macular degeneration will not usually affect your peripheral vision and this disease alone doesn't usually cause total blindness. 

What are the risk factors for Macular Degeneration?

Most macular problems are age related. This is considered a natural process in aging. Our bodies are constantly reacting with the oxygen in the environment. As we age, our bodies produce molecules called free radicals. The free radicals affect our cells and sometimes will damage them. This process is oxidative stress and is considered to have a role in how age-related macular degeneration develops. Other risk factors include family history and smoking cigarettes.

What are the symptoms of Macular Degeneration?

Words looking blurry, dark or empty areas that appear in the center of your vision, and straight lines that look distorted are all symptoms of macular degeneration.

How is Macular Degeneration treated?

Macular degeneration is treated with a combination of laser treatments and nutritional supplements such as: vitamin C and E, Beta Carotene, Zinc and copper. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is another way that macular degeneration is treated. This is a combination of laser treatment and a special drug. 

Two types of Macular Degeneration

  • Dry Macular Degeneration.

    • ​The most common type of macular degeneration is the "dry". This condition is caused by damage and results in the thinning of the macular tissue. Visual loss progresses slowly.  

  • Wet Macular Degeneration.

    • Only about 10 percent of people who suffer from macular degeneration have the "wet" form. This is the result of abnormal blood vessels that form under the retina and leak fluid or blood that causes blurry vision. Vision loss progresses rapidly.