Macular degeneration is a common eye condition among people age 50 and older. Macular degeneration is an incurable eye disease affecting more than 10 million Americans. It is the leading cause of vision loss in those aged 55 or older in the U.S. Macular degeneration is the degeneration of the macula, the part of the eye that provides sharp, central vision needed for seeing objects clearly. The earliest signs of drusen can be seen on an OCT (ocular coherence tomography) scan. Moderne Eye Optometry has the technology in our office to help detect these early changes. Monitoring your retina can be achieved with retinal photos and OCT, technologies utilized for early detection as well as to monitor retinal changes.
There are two forms of macular degeneration: wet and dry. The dry form is more common than the wet form, and the wet form leads to more serious vision loss. Know the signs and symptoms of this disease, as early detection is key to stopping further damage. Regular eye exams are highly recommended to detect macular degeneration early and prevent permanent vision loss.
Symptoms often associated with macular degeneration include:
- A gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly
- A gradual loss of color vision
- Distorted vision
- A dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision
Dry Macular Degeneration
Dry macular degeneration is an early stage of the disease. It is a result of aging and thinning macular tissues, depositing of pigment in the macula or a combination of the two. This disease is diagnosed when yellow spot, called drusen, begin to form in the macula. Gradual central vision loss will occur with dry macular degeneration, although not quite as severe as wet macular degeneration. However, dry macular degeneration can slowly progress to late-stage geographic atrophy, causing severe vision loss.
No FDA-approved treatment currently exist for dry macular degeneration. Studies show that certain nutritional intervention may slow the process, and prevent it from progressing into something worse.
The best way to protect yourself from dry macular degeneration is through exercise, a healthy diet, and wearing sunglasses that protect your eyes from UV rays.
Wet Macular Degeneration