Guide to Macular Degeneration
- Author Kathryn Dawson
- Published March 9, 2011
- Word count 635
There is no doubt that age related macular degeneration is one of the most common reasons for loss of eyesight in those over the age of 50. As we get older, the macular part of the eye begins to break down. The macular is a central part of the retina and it is here that the fine detailed vision we so often take for granted is provided to us. When the macular begins to degenerate, blurred vision is common as is distorted vision of all kinds. It will almost always lead to partial or complete blindness if left untreated so getting help as soon as possible is absolutely crucial.
There are two types of age related macular degeneration. Dry AMD is the most common type and this is the less serious of the two. This occurs when the light sensitive cells in the macular break down leading to blurred vision. The effects of dry AMD develop very slowly. At first perhaps some occasional blurred or double vision will occur. This gets worse over time as the condition develops and worsens. The much less common type of AMD is known as wet macular degeneration. This occurs when the blood vessels in the eye start to grow abnormally. The result of the abnormal growth is leaking and this leaking forces the retina away from the eye wall. A slowly detaching retina can cause severe sight impairment and eventually the person will go blind if the problem cannot be rectified.
It is possible to tell if you have developed wet AMD because you will begin seeing straight lines as slightly wavy. If you have noticed this problem you should seek medical attention immediately. The sooner the condition is caught, the sooner treatment can be given and the more likely it is to be successful.
When it comes to treatment of these conditions, there are options available. The less severe of the two, dry AMD can be controlled with some simple lifestyle factors. Having a good diet and getting plenty of exercise (believe it or not) will help stop your condition from worsening. Wearing good quality sunglasses will also help. Smokers who have developed dry AMD should quit immediately and regular blood pressure check ups should be had. The kinds of foods that should be eaten include those that are high in antioxidants and vegetables that have strong colours. Peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach....all vegetables are good, but especially these.
When it comes to wet AMD then further treatment may be needed. There are some anti-vascular endothelial growth factor drugs available that can help inhibit the growth of the blood vessels. This drug is given via a course of injections. There is also laser eye surgery available that can help prevent the problem from getting any worse. If you think that you may be suffering from either form of AMD then you should visit your nearest eye doctor as soon as possible. There may be measures that can be taken to avoid having to undergo surgery, or if surgery if the most appropriate action to take this may be advised. Either way, you will be able to have your eyes returned to normal and your sight restored. With the excellent technology available now in the field of optometry, there is plenty of ways your eyes can be kept strong and healthy throughout your life.
Macular degeneration is very serious, but there are ways it can be treated. As well as lasik eye surgery there are injections that can be received and even lifestyle changes available that will help the condition. The laser eye surgery cost is much less than it used to be and now more people than ever have access to this treatment. If you want to find out more about it you should visit your nearest eye hospital.
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