Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in those older than age 50, according to the American Optometric Association.1 An age-related disease, macular degeneration causes the macula (the center of vision in the retina) to become damaged over time.
The condition can cause your vision to become gray or hazy and, in some areas, vision may be lost. Once central vision is lost due to macular degeneration, it can’t be restored.
That makes it crucial to get a dilated eye exam each year, which is the only way to detect age-related macular degeneration. To catch symptoms early, book an appointment today.
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
The exact cause of the macula breaking down is unknown, but studies have shown that age and genetics are influencing factors. Lifestyle choices, such as smoking, have also been linked to the development of macular degeneration.
If you already have age-related macular degeneration, you may be able to keep your vision longer if you stop smoking, exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet, including leafy greens and fish.
Macular degeneration is categorized into two forms: “wet” and “dry.” With the dry form, the tissue of the macula gradually becomes thinner and stops working. The wet form of macular degeneration involves new blood vessels growing under the retina, causing scarring and swelling on the retinal tissues.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
As the retina becomes worse, a patient might notice objects that were once colorful now appear dull — and objects may appear to be missing pieces. Lines that used to be straight may also suddenly become blurry or wavy.
Make an appointment with Dr. Benaim immediately if you notice:
- Changes in your central vision
- Difficulty seeing colors and fine details
While there is no “cure” for age-related macular degeneration, there are a number of treatment options.
Macular Degeneration Treatment Options
There is currently no cure for macular degeneration, but there are a number of treatments available that may slow the process, including Photodynamic Therapy (PVT). PVT is used to seal leaky blood vessels in the retina.
Most macular degeneration patients will only experience mild to moderate visual loss over time. If wet macular degeneration occurs, vision loss may happen much more rapidly and will be more severe. Patients may gain a little vision with treatments, but once vision is lost, it is very difficult to restore.
To get your eyes checked for early signs of age-related macular degeneration, please call us at (561) 747-7777.