What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration (ADM) is a degenerative condition of the macula (the central retina). It is the most common cause of vision loss in the United States in those 50 or older, and its prevalence increases with age. AMD is caused by hardening of the arteries that nourish the retina. This deprives the sensitive retinal tissue of oxygen and nutrients that it needs to function and thrive. As a result, the central vision deteriorates.
Macular degeneration varies widely in severity. In the worst cases, it causes a complete loss of central vision, making reading or driving impossible. For others, it may only cause slight distortion. Fortunately, macular degeneration does not cause total blindness since it does not affect the peripheral vision.
What is the difference between wet and dry Macular Degeneration?
AMD is classified as either wet (neovascular) or dry (non-neovascular). About 10% of patients who suffer from macular degeneration have wet AMD. This type occurs when new vessels form to improve the blood supply to oxygen-deprived retinal tissue. However, the new vessels are very delicate and break easily, causing bleeding and damage to surrounding tissue.
Signs and Symptoms
Loss of central vision may be gradual for those with the dry type and may start as just a blurring or distortion of your vision. .Patients with the wet type may experience a sudden decrease of the central vision. Difficulty reading or performing tasks that require the ability to see detail. Straight lines such as a doorway or the edge of a window may appear wavy or bent.
What Should You Do
If you’ve been diagnosed with AMD, making a few simple lifestyle changes could have a positive impact on the health of your retina.
Quit smoking. Smoking impairs the body’s circulation, decreasing the efficiency of the retinal blood vessels.
Monitor your vision daily with an Amsler grid. By checking your vision regularly, changes that may require treatment can be detected early.
Take a multi-vitamin with zinc. Antioxidants, along with zinc and lutein are essential nutrients, are found in the retina. It is believed that people with AMD are deficient in these nutrients.
Incorporate dark leafy green vegetables into your diet. These include spinach, collard greens, kale and turnip greens.
Always protect your eyes with sunglasses that have UV protection. Ultraviolet rays are believed to cause damage to the pigment cells in the retina.
Exercise regularly. Cardiovascular exercise improves the body’s overall health and increases the efficiency of the circulatory system.
Use a bright reading light and wear your reading glasses if appropriate. Hold the chart approximately 14-16 inches from your eye and cover one eye. Look at center dot and note any irreguarities (wavy, size, gray, fuzzy). When finished, repeat the test with your other eye closed.
Contact us immediately if you see any irregularities or notice any changes Findlay (419) 422-2015, Ada (419) 634-2921.