What is Macular Degeneration?
Updated: Apr 11
Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in the U.S., affecting over 10 million Americans. Macular Degeneration is an incurable eye disease caused by the deterioration of the middle section of the eye’s retina. This area of the eye, the Macula, is responsible for focusing the eye’s central vision this affects one’s ability to recognize faces, colors and words.
The Macula is the most sensitive area of the central eye, it collects extremely detailed images and sends them through the optic nerve to the brain. The brain then translates these images as sight. When the Macula stops working properly images are not received correctly by the brain causing wavy or blurred vision. In extreme cases, people with advanced Macular Degeneration are considered legally blind.
3 Types of Macular Degeneration
- Early AMD- this stage of Macular Degeneration is diagnosed by the presence of yellow
deposits under the retina. Most people do not experience vision loss during Early AMD.
- Intermediate AMD- During this stage some vision loss may be experienced. However,
the symptoms of Macular Degeneration aren’t always noticeable with Intermediate
AMD. An eye exam will help look for large changes in the retina.
- Late AMD- Vision loss is noticeable.
Unfortunately, due to insufficient funding the cause of Macular Degeneration is not
conclusively known. However, researchers agree that age-related Macular Degeneration is affected by both environment and genetics.
The largest risk for Macular Degeneration is age, the disease most commonly affects those age 55 and older. In addition to age, other risk factors include:
- Race- Caucasians are more likely than African-Americans or Hispanics/Latinos to develop Macular Degeneration.
- Genetics- Families with a history of AMD are at a higher risk.
- Smoking- Smoking doubles one’s risk of developing AMD.
While the treatment for Macular Degeneration remains unknown, there are things you can do to reduce your risk and slow the progression of AMD. This includes lifestyle changes such as exercising, avoiding smoking, dieting and protecting your eyes from ultraviolet light.
Call Baldwin Eye Care, LLC to schedule an appointment with your eye care professional. It’s important to seek a professional diagnosis to determine the correct cause of your symptoms.