As people age, they may begin to encounter vision issues which can range from mild to relatively significant. Some people are, unfortunately, more prone to serious problems and, for example, may develop a condition known as macular degeneration. What is this eye condition, and what can be done to treat it?
Scientists are not sure why some people develop macular degeneration while others do not, but it affects the central part of the eye or the retina. More often than not, it will eventually affect both eyes, but usually not at the same time.
Wet and Dry
There are two different types of macular degeneration, known as "dry" and "wet." The former condition is more prevalent and may come on rather slowly, while the latter is more serious and can appear suddenly.
As the disease begins to progress, it may be more difficult for the patient to adapt to low light conditions or to read effectively. Straight lines in the centre of the vision can appear to be wavy as well.
If the disease does progress to the wet version, blood vessels behind the retina may begin to leak. This will cause a rapid deterioration in the central vision, and it is important to see an eye doctor as soon as possible in this scenario.
Usually, the disease will start to affect people when they get close to retirement age, especially if they have a family history of eye issues. Smoking can be a trigger, as can excess weight, and it is important to manage lifestyle and diet if at risk for this condition.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for macular degeneration in its dry form, although most people will be able to manage the condition on a daily basis. It is possible to slow down the progression of wet MD using a special solution that is injected into the eye, usually on an outpatient basis.
If you are worried about your vision and suspect that you may be developing symptoms of macular degeneration, you should see your eye doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to recommend a number of tests, including one where they introduce a fluorescent solution to the bloodstream. Using a microscope, they will then be able to look at the back of the eye closely to see if they can detect any blood vessel leaks.
Set up an appointment with your eye doctor if you have any questions about macular degeneration or any other eye problem.