The retina is the interior layer of the eye. The macula is the central portion of the retina and is responsible for detailed vision and color vision. Macular degeneration is a medical condition which usually affects the elderly, and that results in the loss of vision in the center of the visual field, and this happens mostly due to the damage to the retina.
Although some macular dystrophies affecting younger individuals are sometimes referred to as macular degeneration, the term generally refers to age-related macular degeneration.
The diagnosis of macular degeneration is becoming increasingly more common due to patient awareness, physician access, groundbreaking improvements in macular degeneration treatment, and many other things.
Causes and Symptoms
The exact cause of this condition is unknown. Experts still do not know why the cells that make the macula break down. However, there are a few risk factors that might increase one’s chances of developing macular degeneration. These include: age (there is an increased risk of older adults getting this condition), obesity, smoking, sun exposure (the more one’s exposed to sunlight, the greater are the chances), sleep apnea, pigmentation and iris color (people with light skin and lightly colored iris are at greater risk), etc. The symptoms of this condition are: blind spots, straight lines looking bent, blurred or, decreased central close-up and distance vision, difficulty recognizing faces, increased perception of the brightness of colors, etc. One should consult a doctor as soon as one has noticed any irregularities with their vision. That way the doctor might start with the treatment and ease the symptoms as soon as possible.
There still isn’t a treatment that might reverse the effect that this condition has had on one’s eyes. However, because this illness progresses slowly, one might have years of normal life before it starts to affect their eyesight.
One possible treatment is an increased intake of antioxidant vitamins. These might prevent the free radicals from further damaging the retina. Also, if one’s eyesight has become significantly worse, another option is to try laser surgery or surgery to implant a telescopic lens in one’s eye.
There are ways of preventing this condition. These include simple, yet effective changes of one’s lifestyle.
One should do the following things: stop smoking (smokers are up to four times more likely than non-smokers to have macular degeneration), eat more fish, eat fruit and nuts daily (this decreases the risk of getting macular degeneration significantly), have regular eye exams, take multivitamins (taking vitamins and minerals in the form of nutritional supplements from a trusted source may be a good idea for many reasons, including general eye health), eat plenty of greens (eating plenty of dark, leafy greens may help with preventing this condition), exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight, reduce refined carbs (such as white bread, donuts, pretzels, etc.) in one’s diet, control blood pressure regularly and wear sunglasses that have UV and blue light protection.
With these simple instructions, one should minimize the risk and increase the overall health of their eyes.