Macular degeneration is an eye disorder common among individuals over 50 years old. The condition occurs due to a thinning macula, resulting in reduced central vision or blurred vision.
The macula is in the retina. It is responsible for creating clarity in the direct line of vision. Early detection of the condition can help protect the vision. It is helpful to identify the early warning signs of macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration often develops first in one eye and then the other. In some people, it develops in both eyes at the same time. Over time, the vision worsens, affecting the individual’s ability to perform tasks like reading and driving. It can make it difficult to recognize faces.
The vision loss usually remains in the central vision, with most individuals retaining their peripheral vision. In some cases, vision loss may be mild. Self-care measures and early detection can help delay vision loss.
There are two types of macular degeneration: dry AMD and wet AMD. Dry AMD is the more common type, affecting 90 percent of patients. It occurs when the macular thins with age, resulting in the growth of drusen or clumps of protein. It reduces central vision slowly.
In wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels begin to grow under the retina. The new vessels can leak fluids or blood, causing the macula to become scarred. Loss of vision is more aggressive in wet AMD. If you have a family history of AMD, it is vital to get a regular eye examination.
Macular degeneration has quiet symptoms, so most people do not realize that they have the condition until it worsens. Symptoms of AMD differ among individuals. Some people experience mild symptoms and slow vision loss, while others develop severe symptoms fast.
Many people retain normal vision for years after developing AMD. The disease is progressive, but most patients do not experience pain. It is vital to have comprehensive eye exams annually after the age of 40.
During the early stages of AMD, images that are usually sharp and clear may begin to look blurry. As the disease progresses, images become enlarged, distorted, cloudy, spotted, or dark.
Other signs are straight lines looking bent, reduced central vision, the need for brighter lighting when reading, and reduced color intensity. Difficulty adapting to low lightings, like when entering a dimly lit room, could be a sign of AMD. A dilated eye exam can help detect early signs of the condition.
Some studies suggest that the early symptoms of AMD can be reversible. High-dose statin drugs can help reverse the damage caused by the disease. It is helpful to know that the light-receptive cells atrophy and die as the disease advances.
At this stage, it is not possible to reverse the symptoms of advanced AMD. However, researchers are looking into retinal stem cell transplants as an option. If you notice a change in your central vision, you need to visit your eye doctor. You should also consult your doctor if your ability to see fine details and colors is impaired.
For more on early warning signs of macular degeneration or to schedule an appointment, please contact our team today at Centennial Family Eyecare at our offices in Henderson, N. Durango, or Skye Canyon, Las Vegas, Nevada. You can call 702-299-6200, 702-941-7800, or 702-803-2020 today.