Macular degeneration is an age related condition, and is the most common cause of vision loss in people 55 and older. The macula, the center of vision in the retina, is damaged as the disease develops. Macular degeneration can occur in two different forms, either “wet” or “dry”. The dry type, the most common form, occurs when the tissue in the macula thins and ceases to function properly. The wet type occurs when blood vessels grow and leak, causing swelling and scarring, which can lead to a loss of central vision.
Decreased function of the central retina occurs with macular degeneration, causing vision to become hazy or blurry. Straight lines may appear wavy; objects may appear as the wrong shape or size, and it may become increasingly difficult to see objects up close. Macular degeneration increases with age, but other factors such as smoking, family history, gender and high cholesterol may accelerate the condition.
Currently there is no cure for macular degeneration, but there are certain treatments available to slow or stop the progression of the disease. Changes in diet and vitamin intake may slow dry macular degeneration. Wet macular degeneration can be treated through laser treatments and photodynamic therapy; both designed to close off the blood vessels causing the wet macular degeneration. Patients may regain a little vision through these treatments, but once vision is lost it is very hard to restore.
To learn more about the macular degeneration treatments available to the greater Boston area, contact North Suburban Eye Associates today.