What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in people ages 50 and older. It occurs when the macula is damaged, which is typically the result of the body’s natural aging process.

Watch the video below to learn how the eye works and the effects of macular degeneration.

What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?

Symptoms of macular degeneration include:

  • Blurriness, dark spots, or whiteouts in the center of your vision
  • Straight lines appear wavy or distorted
  • Impaired depth perception
  • Difficulty in recognizing subtle contrast, like in colors or textures
  • Problems adjusting to light changes (i.e. entering a lit room after being in a dark room)

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist. Your eye doctor will exam your eyes to see if the vision trouble you’re having is a result of macular degeneration or another eye condition.

Can macular degeneration be treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for macular degeneration, but people diagnosed with this condition have many different treatment options available to them. Your eye doctor will recommend a treatment plan that is best for you based on the type of macular degeneration (wet or dry) you have and how far it’s progressed. Some of these treatments may include:

  • Anti-angiogenic medication
  • Laser therapy
  • Low vision aids
  • Submacular surgery
  • Retinal translocation

Read more about these macular degeneration treatment options.

Who is at risk for macular degeneration?

People are more likely to develop macular degeneration if they:

  • Have a family history of macular degeneration
  • Eat foods high in saturated fat
  • Have high cholesterol levels
  • Are overweight (BMI > 25)
  • Have heart disease
  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Are Caucasian

How can I prevent macular degeneration?

Just like with any other eye disease, the best way to prevent macular degeneration is to take care of yourself. This means avoiding smoking, eating a well-balanced diet full of green leafy vegetables, exercising regularly, and protecting your eyes when you go outside.

The earlier macular degeneration is detected, the more likely your recommended treatment plan will prevent additional vision loss. Having an annual eye exam is important for everyone, but particularly if you’re at risk for the condition. Request an appointment with one of our doctors online or by calling 865-579-3920.

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