Dr. Jim Martin 03/18/2014

5003145-1.jpgMacular degeneration is the number one cause of significant vision loss in people over the age of 60. Unfortunately, there is no way to fully prevent or cure this vision problem that comes with macular degeneration. With treatment and regular eye exams, this eye disease can be slowed down or can be effectively maintained in a remission-like state. This article will show you how the goal of preserving your vision is met.

How Does Macular Degeneration Occur?

The retina is made up of several components that register and process how you see the world around you. There is a small surface area at the back of the retina called the macula. The macula is responsible for seeing the colors and details of everyday life. 

The yellow dry deposits that are characteristic of macular degeneration can cause subtle changes in vision at first, and eventually lead to central vision loss (the vision field occupied by the retina).

If your vision changes are caused by abnormal leaky blood vessels, the outcome without treatment is irreversible legal blindness. Early detection and treatment make this kind of vision loss an eventuality you may not have to face.

What Types Of Treatments For Macular Degeneration Are There?

Early forms of treatment for macular degeneration include:
  • Vision tests
  • Vitamin therapy
  • UV protective eyeglass lenses
  • Polaroid sunglasses

Later treatment will involve:

It is important to realize that even if these treatments slow the progression of the eye disease or help you maintain a remission-like state, the cure still eludes us.

So even with effective treatment, you will need to continually monitor your vision health and see an optometrist regularly for checkups and vision tests.

There is no definitive explanation for what causes age-related macular degeneration, but maintaining healthy habits like: not smoking, protecting your eyes from sun exposure by wearing sunglasses, and eating a diet rich in leafy greens (a source of zinc and antioxidants) can help lower your risk by as much as threefold.

A good rule of thumb is to start macular degeneration checkups when you retire around the age of 65 unless there is a family history of the disease. If that is the case, your checkups should start at age 45.

At Broome Optical in Amarillo, Texas, we can help diagnose macular degeneration and design a treatment plan for you. If you have a family history of macular degeneration or fear you are showing symptoms of this eye disease, do not wait to make an eye appointment. The sooner macular degeneration is diagnosed, the better. 

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