Understanding macular degeneration

istock 1167003596 1 Your vision helps you each and every day to perform tasks that we often take for granted, such as reading, watching television, and driving. So what happens when it becomes impossible to perform these tasks due to vision loss? One of the more common conditions that can occur to aging patients is that of AMD, or “age-related macular degeneration.” This is a disease that is caused by the deterioration of the macula, which is the central-most portion of the eye’s retina. This impacts central vision, which is used each day for common tasks. Age-related macular degeneration is a serious issue that can be progressive and advance to the point that extensive vision loss occurs.

What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?

There are a few different symptoms that may be noticeable when patients are dealing with early to late-stage age-related macular degeneration. They include:

  • Distorted vision
  • Blurry central vision
  • Noticing shadows
  • Missing sections of vision
  • Decreased sensitivity to contrast

What types of age-related macular degeneration can occur?

There are two forms of AMD that are classified by ophthalmologists, including dry form and wet form. Dry form is a type of macular degeneration that is caused by the breakdown of macula cells, resulting in drusen which appear as yellow and white spots. Drusen can become large and numerous, causing the eventual decline of vision. Wet form is less common and much more rapid. This form affects up to 15% of AMD patients and causes abnormal blood vessels to grow underneath the retina. They leak protein and blood and cause permanent central vision blindness.

What puts me at greater risk of age-related macular degeneration?

Studies have shown a link to the following conditions and AMD:

  • Smoking
  • Age
  • Sunlight exposure
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Cardiovascular problems (obesity, high cholesterol)
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Family history/genetics

Are you in need of vision care?

If you are experiencing any symptoms of macular degeneration and live in the areas of Winchester, Waltham, or Wakefield, MA, we encourage you to contact North Suburban Eye Associates, P.C. today at (781) 245-5200 to schedule an eye examination. With four convenient locations, our team can assist with a wide range of ophthalmology problems and concerns.

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