There are a variety of conditions, injuries, and genetic disorders that can affect your vision. It’s a good idea to know about the signs and symptoms of these conditions so they can be caught and treated early.
One to look out for, in particular, is age-related macular degeneration. Keep reading to learn more about what macular degeneration is!
Age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD, is an eye condition that affects the retina. The retina is a highly sensitive sheet of tissue at the back of your eye.
Its proper functioning is vital for clear vision. The retina comprises special cells that detect light and color, which are then sent to your brain.
The center of the retina is called the macula. This part of the retina holds the most cells and is responsible for sharp, clear, and crisp central vision.
AMD causes damage to these cells, degrading vision over time. AMD is a progressive disease, meaning it only gets worse.
It can get worse slowly or quickly, depending on each individual case. Typically, the disease progresses over a few years.
AMD has some unique symptoms early on. You may notice straight lines in your vision appearing wavy.
Distance vision may become increasingly blurry, and colors may begin to seem more muted. You may also notice missing or distorted spots in the center of your vision.
Left untreated, AMD can easily lead to severe vision loss. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of blindness in older Americans.
While it is unclear what exactly causes AMD, it usually affects people older than sixty, those with hypertension, smokers, and those with a family history of the disease.
There are two kinds of AMD. The most common form is dry macular degeneration, which is also less dangerous.
Dry macular degeneration occurs in the condition’s early stages and is more easily managed. Wet macular degeneration is more likely to cause permanent vision loss but only makes up ten percent of AMD cases.
AMD progresses to the wet stage when new blood vessels form in the retina. These blood vessels are weak and leak fluid constantly.
Eventually, scar tissue begins to build up. These changes often result in permanent vision loss.
Treating AMD successfully depends on what stage you are in. There’s no cure for AMD, but you and your eye doctor can manage it and prevent it from worsening.
You may be able to slow the progression of dry AMD by increasing zinc and antioxidants in your diet. However, wet AMD often requires treatments and therapies to prevent vision loss.
Laser treatment or photodynamic therapies are used to stop advanced cases of wet AMD. Special injections and alternative treatments are being studied to help restore lost eyesight.
Ultimately, like other vision problems, early detection is a big part of protecting your eyesight. Dry AMD is much easier to control than wet AMD.
It is also less dangerous for your sight. For this reason, it’s best to visit your eye doctor for routine eye exams to ensure any eye conditions are detected in the early stages and to preserve vision.
Are you experiencing symptoms of macular degeneration? Schedule an appointment at Advanced Eye Care in New Lenox, IL, to protect your sight today.