What You Should Know About Macular Degeneration
Unfortunately, macular degeneration may lead to blindness. However, when you seek out care from an optometrist, he or she will be able to diagnose and monitor the condition. As necessary, an optometrist from Child & Family Eyecare, serving Wichita, KS and the surrounding area, can intervene and slow the progression and help you in optimizing your quality of life.
Overview of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is a condition that tends to affect you as you age. In fact, macular degeneration ranks as the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60.
When you have macular degeneration, either the macula of your retina wears away. On the other hand, you can also develop the wet form of macular degeneration, which occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow below your retina and leak fluid.
Although macular degeneration usually occurs in adults, children and adolescents may develop a form of it known as Stargardt disease.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
In the earlier stages, you may not even notice you have macular degeneration until it worsens or is in both eyes.
Some possible symptoms you may develop include:
- Reduction in central vision
- Visual distortions
- Difficulty seeing in low light
- Printed words appear blurrier
- Colors appear duller
- Trouble recognizing faces
Cause of Macular Degeneration
Your eye doctor may not know why you develop macular degeneration, besides the fact that you are aging. In fact, people over 50 are most at risk. However, you may develop this condition if you have a family history of it. Certain environmental factors elevate your chances of this condition as well, such as smoking. Obesity can also increase the likelihood of your macular degeneration worsening into a severe form.
Cardiovascular disease increases your chances of macular degeneration because it affects your heart and blood vessels, and macular degeneration can sometimes stem from abnormal blood vessels.
Diagnosing Macular Degeneration
When you meet with your eye doctor, he or she will conduct a standard vision exam to check for deficits. Your doctor may also use an Amsler grid to look for issues with your central vision. Using a special magnifying device, your doctor will look into your eye to examine the back region of your eye, including your macula.
Your doctor may also use imaging, such as fluorescein angiography or optical coherence tomography to further examine your macula.
Treatment for Macular Degeneration
Your eye doctor cannot prescribe any medications to help slow the progression. Instead, your doctor will help you by recommending steps you can take to live life while you suffer from this vision deficit.
Macular degeneration can negatively impact your life. However, an eye doctor can help you live your best life.