Understanding Age-related Macular Degeneration: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
According to recent statistics, nearly 93 million adult Americans are at serious risk of partial or complete vision loss.
While this staggering number can be a result of a variety of different health conditions and circumstances, researchers suggest that the most common reason for an adult individual’s temporary or permanent vision loss is age-related macular degeneration.
This eye disease impacts the person’s central vision, directly affecting their mobility, reflexes, and even cognitive health.
To learn more about what age-related macular degeneration is, the common signs and symptoms to look out for, what causes this eye disease, and your treatment options, keep reading.
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the most common eye diseases that usually affect people aged forty and above. This disease occurs when a part of the person’s retinal cells, called the ‘macula,’ are damaged.
A person’s central vision declines when the macula is damaged or under pressure. This means that while the affected person will be able to see, their eyes will no longer have the ability to focus on the key central details.
This affects the person’s ability to identify faces, read a book, drive, or view a computer screen.
Moreover, although age-related macular degeneration will directly impact an aged individual’s ability to see and identify the objects around them, it does not lead to permanent and complete vision loss.
Furthermore, the reason age-related macular degeneration is so common around the world is that this eye disease is hard to detect.
The early signs of the eye disease are rarely noticeable, and the person only experiences a drastic loss in their central vision once a significant part of the retina is damaged.
What Are the Two Main Types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
1. Wet AMD
Wet AMD affects only 20% of patients with this eye disease and is generally known for being the more dangerous of the two types.
Wet AMD is caused by abnormal and thick blood vessels that begin growing under the retinal cells, causing them to press against sensitive components of the eye. Moreover, these vessels leak blood and fluid into the eye, leaving a large blind spot in the person’s central vision.
2. Dry AMD
Dry AMD is the most common form of the disease and is found in nearly 80% of patients. Although the exact causes behind dry AMD are yet unknown, researchers have been able to link the disease to people’s genes and lifestyle.
Moreover, dry AMD is caused when the eye’s light-sensitive retinal cells begin to break down. It is generally hard to notice dry AMD as the loss of vision happens slowly and gradually, and usually one eye at a time.
Common Signs and Symptoms Indicating Age-Related Macular Degeneration
As mentioned above, the early signs and symptoms of age-related macular degeneration progress very slowly and are generally hard to notice.
However, if you notice any of the symptoms listed below, you should visit your ophthalmologist to have your eyes checked out.
- Blurry or distorted vision
- Straight lines appear curved up and wavy
- Lights keep bending into the background
- Difficulty in identifying faces, images, shapes, and objects
- A dark, blind spot in the center of your vision
- Difficulty reading or driving
What Can Cause Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
Although it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of a person’s age-related macular degeneration, it is important to know that multiple different variables might be in play.
For instance, age-related macular degeneration can be caused by:
- Prolonged periods of smoking
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Foods rich in saturated fats
- Using modern flatscreen devices without a blue light filter
How to Treat Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Despite the global commonality of the disease, there is yet no proper treatment or cure for age-related macular degeneration.
When you visit your eye doctor for this disease, they will provide you with a treatment plan based on your age, preference, tolerance, overall physical health, and the stage of your age-related macular degeneration.
In general, the doctor can recommend some sort of vision rehabilitation program or advise you to refrain from driving on your own.
Final Thoughts – Protect Your Eyes with My Blue Protector Now!
If you are over forty and you constantly struggle with focusing on the objects and images around you, you might have age-related macular degeneration.
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