Do you ever have trouble recognizing faces? Maybe you are experiencing a hazy or spotted vision.
First, you should know you are not alone.
These difficulties may only seem like nuisances. But did you know they are also common signs of a disorder called Macular Degeneration?
In this blog, we’ll give you a breakdown of:
- What is Macular Degeneration?
- Different Types of MD
- Other Macular Degeneration symptoms
What is Macular Degeneration?
According to the American Optometric Association, Macular Degeneration, also known as Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults. Macular Degeneration is an incurable eye disease that occurs when the part of the retina called the macula is damaged.
Your macula is located in the center of your retina. It is responsible for allowing you to see colors and intricate details.
This disease causes you to lose your central vision while your peripheral vision remains unaffected. This can make it difficult to focus on fine details – both up close and from afar.
Additionally, it’s important to note that this progressive eye disorder has two different types.
Dry Macular Degeneration
Dry Macular Degeneration is the most common type of Macular Degeneration. This form of the disorder occurs when tiny yellow deposits known as drusen form over the top of your macula. Over time, these deposits enlarge and multiply, which blur or distort your vision.
Dry Macular Degeneration is the less serious of the two. It progresses slowly, but it may lead to blind spots or even the loss of your central vision if not monitored closely by your doctor.
Wet Macular Degeneration
When abnormal blood vessels grow underneath your macula is known as Wet Macular Degeneration. This typically causes the vessels to leak blood among other fluids into your retina, which can dim your vision and cause objects to appear twisted or distorted.
As the “wet form” becomes more severe, it leads to blind spots and the loss of your central vision.
Luckily, there are ways to prevent this chronic eye disease. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a major component in prevention.
But certain factors make you more susceptible to suffering from Macular Degeneration.
Who Does Macular Degeneration Affect?
Macular Degeneration can affect anybody. However, some groups of people are at a higher risk of developing it.
People ages 50+
Individuals aged 50 and up are at the most significant risk for developing Macular Degeneration. This is exactly what they mean when you hear the term age-related Macular Degeneration. As you age, the cells in your macula begin to thin and break down. Eventually, the drusen will build up, which will damage the macula.
High-fat diet or high blood pressure
Consuming large quantities of high-fat foods takes a toll on your heart health, but it also can affect your ocular health.
There’s a positive correlation between high blood pressure and Macular Degeneration. High blood pressure restricts the amount of oxygen getting to your eyes, which increases your risk of Macular Degeneration.
In a study at the University of Buffalo, researchers found that individuals who ate a diet high in red and processed meat, fried food, refined grains, and high-fat dairy were three times more likely to develop late-stage age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
Incorporating more heart-healthy foods like fruits, leafy greens, and nuts into your can help reduce your risk of developing Macular Degeneration.
Smoking has consistently proven to increase one’s likelihood of developing AMD. For example, individuals who smoke are up to four times more likely to have AMD than those who have never smoked. Additionally, smokers are at risk of developing AMD up to 10 years earlier than those who have never smoked.
If you currently smoke, you may want to consider quitting. For helpful resources or guidance, talk to your doctor.
What are the signs of Macular Degeneration?
It’s vital to recognize the signs of this disorder, so you can receive the treatment you need. Then, you could save your vision.
Loss of central vision
Patients with Macular Degeneration often claim they can’t see the fine details in objects and faces or feel that something obstructs their central visual field. For example, if you were looking at a clock, you may not see the hands, but you could still make out the numbers.
Dark spots/blind spots
A sign that you may be developing an ocular health issue like Macular Degeneration is having dark spots or blind spots in your field of vision. For example, you might see a floating blurry or fuzzy dark spot or even flashing light.
Straight Lines appear wavy
You may begin to notice that images and shapes appear distorted. For example, straight lines will typically seem to be wavy. A common way to self-examine your vision for distortion is by looking at the Amsler grid.
Trust the Surgeons at Vistar Eye Center
The number of individuals living with Macular Degeneration is predicted to increase to 288 million by 2040. That being said, you should learn the various symptoms of this disorder. Then, you could help yourself or a loved one by catching the signs.
If you are experiencing any of these signs of Macular Degeneration, please don’t hesitate to contact our team here at Vistar Eye Center.
Our caring specialists offer a couple of treatment options. We typically offer minimally invasive laser surgery for patients with less severe cases. In more severe cases, we may recommend an injectable medicine such as Lucentis, Avastin, Macugen, or Eylea. Your doctor will determine the best one for you.
Reach out to us today to learn more about Macular Degeneration treatment.