Macular degeneration is a very dangerous and all-too-common eye condition that robs a person of their central and detailed vision by destroying the small part of the retina, called the macula, that is responsible for this type of vision. Consequently, detail-work such as threading a needle or activities such as reading a book, become very difficult or even impossible. Macular degeneration can sometimes be a heart-wrenching ordeal, as the blank or blurry spot in the center of a person’s field of vision often blots out faces, making it hard even to recognize close friends and loved ones. Macular degeneration usually comes on very slowly and is easily overlooked without routine eye exams, causing a significant loss of sight before detection. Especially for those over the age of 40 and/or with a family history of the disease, these routine eye exams are indispensable as a means of early detection and treatment, ensuring long term eye and vision health.
Two types of macular degeneration exist, dry and wet. Below, we give an outline of both:
- Dry Macular Degeneration is a much more common condition than its wet alternative. Symptoms include blurry distance and/or reading vision, colors seeming much less vivid and difficulty seeing in dim lighting. Macular degeneration that affects only one eye is often more difficult to detect without an eye exam. This results from your good eye making up for the short-comings of the vision in the bad eye. In this case, eye exams become even more important to detect and monitor the progress of this single-eye macular degeneration.
- Wet Macular Degeneration is much more rare, and considered considerably more dangerous. This is because wet macular degeneration displays a tendency to worsen drastically over an alarmingly short amount of time. Symptoms of this form of macular degeneration are similar to the dry form, with the addition that you may also notice that straight lines seem to be bent or crooked.
Macular degeneration, once it has already developed, has no federally approved treatment options, and sight which is lost through damage caused by macular degeneration is non-reversible. Preventing macular degeneration altogether, is therefore a person’s best defense. Besides regular eye exams for early detection, a number of expert studies have shown a link between certain health supplements and reduced risk of macular degeneration. Those who took Vitamin C, Vitamin E and other healthy supplements appeared to reduce their long-term risk of developing macular degeneration or of their dry macular degeneration getting worsening or developing into wet macular degeneration.
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