Life with imperfect vision can be annoying. Finding your glasses may be tedious, and putting in contacts every day may start to wear on you. But what do you do when your imperfect vision can’t be corrected with lenses? For many Americans, that’s exactly what they’re dealing with everyday. Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans, and it affects as many as ten million Americans currently.
What is it?
Macular Degeneration is a disease that is caused in the retina of the eye, which is the part of the eye that records and transfers images to the brain through the optic nerve. The center of the retina is called the macula, and this is the portion that is affected by Macular Degeneration.
How can I identify Macular Degeneration?
Macular Degeneration often reveals itself as wavy or blurred vision. Sometimes the issue stops there. If the condition continues to worsen, central vision may be completely affected or lost.
Macular Degeneration may begin without any signs of vision loss, so it is important to have regular visits with your doctor to check on the health of your eyes. If it can be identified early, your ophthalmologist may be able to help give you advice to keep it from getting worse.
What causes Macular Degeneration?
We still don’t know exactly what causes Macular Degeneration because it is a multifactorial disease process; however, we do know certain risk factors.
Often, Macular Degeneration affects aging populations, and if you’re above the age of 55 your chance of developing it is increased. Other risk factors include genetics, race, smoking, and other health factors. For example, if you have family members who suffered from Macular Degeneration, then you may have an increased risk of developing it. Additionally, if you smoke or are caucasian, then your risk of developing Macular Degeneration is increased.
Can I treat Macular Degeneration?
Unfortunately, Macular Degeneration is currently considered an incurable disease. Quitting smoking or finding a more healthy lifestyle may help prevent Macular Degeneration. If Macular Degeneration shifts from a dry phase to a wet phase due to leaking or abnormal blood vessels then medication injected into the eye is of great benefit.