As a disease usually associated with aging, macular degeneration is also called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), though there are other, less common types of macular degeneration.
Macular Degeneration Statistics
- Currently, 2.1 million people ages 50 and older have late age-related macular degeneration.
- People of European ethnicity are far more likely to lose vision from AMD than African-Americans, and studies show that obesity, smoking, and exposure to ultraviolet rays may also be risk factors for developing the disease.
- Macular degeneration tends to affect women more than men, and has also been linked to heredity.
Macular Degeneration Symptoms
The primary symptom of macular degeneration is a gradual loss of central vision.
Dry Macular Degeneration
For most patients, the earliest clinical sign of macular degeneration is the formation of retinal drusen in the back of the eye. Although retinal drusen is a common finding in early macular degeneration, their presence is only a risk factor and does not guarantee that the person will develop the disease.
Symptoms of macular degeneration
- No vision loss early in the disease
- Reading small print becomes difficult as the disease progresses
- Problems driving at night increase as the disease progresses
- Complaining of a “dark spot” in your vision is a symptom in the late stage of the disease
- Early, age-related dry macular degeneration is treatable with nutrition therapy
- Decrease exposure to ultraviolet light
- Behavior modification
- lose weight
- stop smoking
- improve diet
- increase exercise
Wet Macular Degeneration
About 10% of patients with macular degeneration have the “wet” form of the disease. In wet macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels leak fluid or blood into spaces beneath the retina. The accummulated fluid damages the the retina and the structural damage results in a loss of vision.
In wet macular degeneration, early diagnosis is critical because modern treatment options can reduce or prevent permanent vision loss if they are administered early in the course of the disease.
Symptoms of Wet Macular Degeneration
- Rapid progression
- Blurred vision
- Wavy vision
- Distorted vision
- Intravitreal injections
- Laser surgery