Taking appropriate steps to care for your eye health is essential at every age, but is especially vital for older adults. Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is one of the leading causes of vision loss for those over fifty. It is important to get routine eye exams so this condition can be detected and managed early. At University Eye Associates, serving Charlotte and Davidson, NC, our team can diagnose, treat, and manage AMD at every stage.
What Is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration causes central vision blurriness in one or both eyes, which impacts simple tasks like reading and driving. The macula is a small section of the retina at the back of the eye responsible for discerning fine detail and colors.
Macular degeneration does not cause complete blindness, as it only affects your central vision. Most people maintain their peripheral vision. However, central vision loss is likely to impact your quality of life.
Types of Macular Degeneration & Symptoms
Macular degeneration manifests at different speeds and is case-dependent. There are two types of this condition.
Dry Macular Degeneration
Up to 90% of patients afflicted with macular degeneration have dry AMD. This condition is characterized by a protein, known as drusen, that collects and impairs the retina’s ability to process light. Dry AMD typically happens slowly and is not usually as severe as wet AMD, but can become wet AMD.
Wet Macular Degeneration
Wet AMD is a condition that can become much worse than dry AMD, although its exact cause remains unknown. Wet AMD is caused by extraneous blood vessels forming beneath the macula, leaking fluids and blood. Wet AMD begins with central vision blurriness, although it may impact the brightness of one’s vision or cause straight lines to look wavy.
Causes and Prevention of Macular Degeneration
Although there is no direct cause of the condition, there are some risk factors for it. Your risk for macular degeneration increases with age. The risk for macular degeneration is also increased for Caucasian individuals.
You may be able to lower your risk for macular degeneration by:
- Not smoking
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy heart and cholesterol levels
- Committing to maintaining a healthy diet
It is also vital to get routine eye exams so the condition can be caught early.
Macular Degeneration Treatment
While there is no cure for the condition, there are ways to slow it down and stop its progression. This includes vitamin supplements, medications, eyeglasses, laser therapy, and more.
Schedule an Appointment with Our Eye Doctor
If you are experiencing symptoms of macular degeneration, we can help. At University Eye Associates in Charlotte, Harrisburg (Rocky River) and Davidson, NC, our eye doctor will diagnose the condition and provide treatment or management options. Call us today to schedule an appointment.