Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is a disease that affects your central vision. It results from changes to the macula, a portion of the retina that is responsible for clear, sharp vision and is located at the back of the eye. During your comprehensive eye examination, we will dilate your pupils and use an ophthalmoscope to look for macular degeneration.
Some common symptoms of macular degeneration are a gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly, distorted vision, a gradual loss of color vision and a dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision. If you experience any of these symptoms, please contact us immediately.
There are two types of age-related macular degeneration. Most people with macular degeneration have the “dry” form, in which the macular cells gradually begin to break down. The less common “wet” form occurs when tiny new blood vessels in the retina grow toward the macula. The new blood vessels are fragile and often leak fluid under the macula, causing tissue damage and a rapid loss of vision. “Wet” macular degeneration may be helped by laser procedures, if diagnosed and treated early.
The risk for developing macular degeneration increases as you get older. People who smoke, are overweight, have high cholesterol or have a family history of macular degeneration may be at higher risk for the disease as well.
Recent research indicates certain vitamins and minerals may help slow the progression of macular degeneration. In particular, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in dark, leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach, may be helpful. New drugs and treatments are being researched as well.