What is and how to cope with macular degeneration?

What is and how to cope with macular degeneration?


Age-related macular degeneration is an eye disease that causes blurred central vision. It occurs when the macula, the part of the eye that controls sharp forward vision, is damaged during the aging process.  Age-related macular degeneration is a common condition and one of the leading causes of blindness in the elderly. 

It doesn’t cause total blindness, but central vision loss can make it hard to see faces, read books, drive, or do near-field tasks like cooking or repairing things around the house. Age-related macular degeneration progresses very slowly in some people and more quickly in others. In early age-related macular degeneration, vision loss can go unnoticed for a long time. This is why it is important to check regularly if you have age-related macular degeneration, so keep reading if you want to know more.

Risk

The risk of developing age-related macular degeneration increases with age. People over the age of 55 are more likely to have age-related macular degeneration. The risk of age-related macular degeneration is also increased in people who: have a family history of this pathology, if they are caucasians or they smoke. 

Symptoms

The symptoms of macular degeneration are usually gradual and painless. It can be one of the following:

  • Visual distortions such as lines that appear crooked
  • Decreased central vision in one or both eyes
  • Reading and fine work require bright light. Increased difficulty adjusting to low light levels, such as when entering a dimly lit restaurant
  • Increases blurred vision of printed words
  • Reduce the intensity or brightness of the color
  • Face recognition difficulty
  • A clear smudge or blind spot in vision

Dry macular degeneration is one of two types of age-related macular degeneration. It can progress to wet macular degeneration (neovascularization), which is characterized by leaky blood vessels that grow under the retina. Dry degeneration is more common but usually progresses slowly (over years). The wet types tend to cause relatively rapid changes in vision, leading to severe vision loss.

Complications

People with advanced macular degeneration that causes central vision loss are at increased risk of depression and social isolation. People with severe visual impairment may experience visual hallucinations. Also, dry macular degeneration can progress to wet macular degeneration, which can lead to rapid vision loss if left untreated.

Prevention

It is important to have regular eye exams to identify early signs of macular degeneration. The following measures help you reduce the risk of developing dry macular degeneration:

  • Control your other diseases. For example, if you have cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure, take your medications and manage them as directed by your doctor.
  • No Smoking. Smokers are more prone to macular degeneration than non-smokers. Ask your doctor to help you quit smoking. Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly. If you need to lose weight, reduce your caloric intake and increase your daily physical activity. 
  • Choose a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. These foods contain antioxidant vitamins that help reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration.
  • Add fish to your diet. The omega 3 fatty acids found in fish help reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Nuts, like walnuts, also contain omega 3 fatty acids.

Treatment

There is currently no cure for dry age-related macular degeneration. All current treatments aim to stop or slow its progression. Recommended mitigation measures include the use of certain supplements, sunglasses, vasodilators, vitamins, or antioxidants. There is no cure for exudative age-related macular degeneration, but it is true that the development and use of antiangiogenic drugs by intravitreal injection into the vitreous can prevent abnormal growth and bleeding of the affected small blood vessels.

Restore poor eyesight

Age-related macular degeneration does not affect side (peripheral) vision and usually does not cause total blindness. However, central vision, which is necessary for driving, reading and recognizing people’s faces, can be affected or lost. Working with a low vision rehabilitation specialist, occupational therapist, ophthalmologist, and other doctors trained in low vision rehabilitation can be helpful. Helps find adjustments to changes in vision. 

Telephoto Transplant Surgery

For people with advanced dry macular degeneration in both eyes, one option to improve vision is the surgical implantation of a telephoto lens in one eye. The telescope, which looks like a small plastic tube, is equipped with a lens that enlarges the field of view. Telescopic implants can improve near and far vision, but the field of vision is very narrow. This is especially useful in urban areas to help identify signs.

If you’re at risk of developing age-related macular degeneration because of age, family history, or other factors, it’s important to have regular eye exams. Talk to your doctor about how often you need to have your eyes examined. The early stages of age-related macular degeneration have no symptoms, so don’t wait for your vision to change.

Disclaimer: This article is just information and was not written to give any advice or replace any professional indication. Any doubt you have please consult a doctor”

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