Age-related macular degeneration also referred to as AMD is a form of vision loss and affects the macula part of the eye or eyes. It is the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in most western countries. Usually affecting people aged 65 or above, this is a more serious eye condition than some other complaints and eye conditions.
There are different forms of this condition and each comes with slightly different symptoms and treatment options. Macular degeneration affects the central vision, rather than what you see off to the side. Because the macula is affected which is part of the retina it is your central vision which is affected.
Wet macular degeneration means that blood vessels are affecting the retina and the dry form implies that there is some debris in the eye. Age-related macular degeneration refers to one of either wet or dry macular degeneration. Symptoms include a difficulty in recognizing faces and in reading, as well as dark patches in your vision or empty vision in your eye line. Wet macular degeneration is less common generally speaking.
Diagnosis will entail an examination of the retina and is easy and pain-free. Early detection is the key here, as this condition can cause blindness if left untreated. No need to suffer longer than you have to. With so many treatment options available getting diagnosed quick and moving onto a treatment option is the best thing you can do.
Causes of macular degeneration
The causes of this problem can range from person to person. For some, it will simply be age. It is well known the people over the age of 55 suffer more eyesight issues and vision loss than younger people. As we age, our body is less able to repair vital systems and therefore our eyesight can suffer.
Pigmentation and race also play a part. This eye complaint is more common in white or lightly pigmented people.
Your iris color is also an indication, and those with lightly colored iris are more at risk of developing this eye complaint.
Also, would you believe, your gender plays a part and sorry ladies, women are a higher risk of developing macular degeneration.
Lifestyle choices also play a part, and smoking is way up there as a well-known cause of all type of macular degeneration. Obesity also is a contributing factor. If you have been exposed to lots of sunlight, through your career or perhaps you live nearer the equator then this puts you in a higher risk category also. So it really is worth considering getting more vegetables into your diet, quitting smoking and watching your weight. These are all factors you can control. While you cannot help having a hereditary disease, you can control your lifestyle, diet and other factors so it really does pay to consider these.
Lastly, family history is one of the biggest contributing factors. And this, of course, you cannot control. But if you know of a family history of macular degeneration or any other eye issues then you know to get tested regularly and watch your lifestyle.
The main thing to remember with any eye complaint is that treatment should be sought fast, as the quicker you get diagnosed, the more effective the treatment can be and the less suffering you have to experience.
Treatments for macular degeneration
There are several ways to treat all forms of macular degeneration, ranging from natural remedies to surgery.
Improving your diet is one option. Essential nutrients and vitamins can benefit your eyesight. Another great thing you can do is quit smoking, and you can protect yourself from the sunlight as much as possible.
Vision aids can help train your sight, especially in the areas of peripheral vision.
Surgery is an option too as are injections. Laser surgery is reported to be very effective, quick, easy and pain-free.
Laser eye treatment is one solution for eye conditions, as are all the other options listed. The best plan of action is to speak to your doctor about which one is going to be best for you. Macular degeneration needs to be taken seriously and acted upon, but thankfully it can be treated, although sight lost through wet macular degeneration cannot be regained.