What is Macular Degeneration?
Medikoe Health Expert
Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
Macular degeneration is an incurable eye disease which is one of the leading causes for loss of vision that affects more people than cataract and glaucoma combined. Although complete loss of vision is a rare case, this condition has a significant impact on one’s eye sight.
Retina is the inner, back portion of the eye that enables us to see by capturing the images viewed by the eye and sending it to the brain through the optic nerves.
The central portion of the retina is called the macula which enables us to read, drive, recognise things and observe in great detail.
Macular degeneration is caused due to the deterioration of macula cells which results in loss of central vision.
Types of degeneration
The disease is caused due to the degeneration of macula cells and results in significant visual disability.
Dry form: This is characterised by deposition of yellow substance in the macula. As these particles grow and increase in number, they diminish vision.
Wet form: This form is characterised by growth of abnormal blood vessels which leak blood and fluid into the retina which distorts vision.
What are the causes and risk factors?
Although there is no concrete evidence on the causes, it is understood that the chances of contracting macular degeneration progresses with age. The risk increases with age and is most likely to affect the ones who are 55 years and older.
Some of the factors that are known to play a role are heredity and environmental effects. Family history of the disease increases your risk of having the disease and smoking doubles the risk of macular degeneration.
Symptoms of macular degeneration
- First signs are a noticeable change in quality of vision which could be gradual or sudden.
- Distortion of straight lines
- Dark, blurry or whiteout areas in the centre of your vision
Since the disease is largely age related, it is advisable that you get regular eye check-ups after the age of 50 to ensure there are no problems and if you already have macular degeneration it will prevent severe loss of vision or complexities.
Although there is no cure, the treatments recommended by the doctor can help significantly in managing the condition and prevent it from getting worse.
Depending on the severity of the disease, the doctors recommend lifestyle changes, medication or laser therapy to help slow down the effects and prevent loss of vision.