Macular degeneration results in the deterioration of the macula, which is the small central area of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision. Although macular degeneration can occur at any age, it is most common in older adults. Early detection and treatment of macular degeneration San Antonio are important to preserve your vision.
Macular degeneration can be dry or wet. The most common type is dry macular degeneration, which usually progresses slowly. Wet macular degeneration is less common but can cause vision loss more quickly.
There are different causes of macular degeneration:
- Age: When you get older, your risk for macular degeneration increases.
- Smoking: Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for macular degeneration.
- Race: Caucasians are more likely to be affected than other races.
- Exposure to sunlight: Too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun may increase your risk for macular degeneration.
- Diet: A diet low in antioxidants and fatty acids may increase your risk for macular degeneration.
Now that you know the causes of macular degeneration, below find an explanation of the warning signs of macular degeneration:
Did you know that blurry vision is one of the first signs of macular degeneration? Straight lines may appear distorted or wavy as the macula deteriorates. Consult your doctor immediately if you notice this symptom.
Because macular degeneration affects central vision, people with this condition often have difficulty reading. If you have to hold books, newspapers, or other reading materials farther away from your eyes than usual, make an appointment with your doctor.
Trouble seeing in dim lighting
You may have difficulty seeing in dim lighting or at night if you have macular degeneration. This is because the macula is responsible for central vision, which is needed for tasks such as reading and driving.
Changes in color vision
Color vision changes are another early sign of macular degeneration. Contact your doctor when you notice a change in how colors look to you.
A dark or empty area in the center of your vision
As macular degeneration progresses, you may notice a dark or empty area in the center of your vision. This is called “central scotoma” and is caused by the deterioration of the macula.
The recommended treatment for dry macular degeneration is:
- Taking antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and zinc: Antioxidants can help to slow the progression of dry macular degeneration.
- Eating a healthy diet: Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fatty acids may help reduce your macular degeneration risk.
- Quitting smoking: If you smoke, quitting is the best way to reduce your risk for macular degeneration.
- Wearing sunglasses: Wearing sunglasses that block UV light can help to reduce your risk for macular degeneration.
The recommended treatment for wet macular degeneration is:
- Injecting medications into the eye is the most common treatment for wet macular degeneration. The medication helps to stop the growth of new blood vessels.
- Laser surgery: It can be used to destroy abnormal blood vessels in the eye.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor at Alamo Eye Care. Your specialist can diagnose macular degeneration and recommend the best treatment.