Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in the United States. It is estimated that 10 million people in the U.S. have this condition. The condition occurs when the central portion of the retina thins. The retina is a membrane of cells positioned at the back of the eye. It records the images that you see and sends them from the optic nerve to the brain. As the retina deteriorates, vision loss occurs. At Richardson Eye Associates, our optometrists can treat this degenerative disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is often present in both eyes. The symptoms often come on gradually. In most cases, the symptoms are so gradual that you may not even notice them at first. The most common symptoms include:
- Visual distortions such as straight lines appearing bent
- Declining central vision in one eye or both
- Needing brighter light while reading
- Difficulty adapting to dim lights
- The blurriness of printed words
- A decrease in brightness of colors
- Trouble recognizing faces
Who is at Risk?
Anyone can develop macular degeneration. There are, however, certain risk factors that make you more prone to the disease:
- Age: This is most common for people over 50.
- Family History: If a family member has macular degeneration, you are at risk of developing it as well.
- Race: This condition is more common in Caucasians.
- Smoking: Smoking cigarettes increases your chances of getting the disease.
- Obesity: Research has shown that obesity can increase your chances of developing macular degeneration.
- Heart Disease: Research has shown that cardiovascular disease increases your chances of getting this disease.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for macular degeneration, but treatment options are available to slow the progression of the disease:
- Vitamin supplements
- Low vision rehabilitation
- Surgery to implant a telescopic lens (this is for late-stage macular degeneration, and it can magnify your field of vision)
Our Eye Doctor Can Help
Macular degeneration is a serious condition. If it is caught early, you can begin treatment to prevent further vision loss. This is why it is essential to make an appointment every year with Richardson Eye Associates. If our optometrist sees the early signs of macular degeneration, you can begin treatment immediately. Call today at 972-231-3439 to schedule an appointment with our eye doctor.
If you have this condition, how do you cope with your vision loss? Share your experience in the comments.