As you get older, your eyes become more susceptible to age-related eye conditions. Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in adults 50 and over. This condition is characterized by small deposits called drusen producing buildup on the macula, blocking out light and causing blurred vision.
The early stages of Macular Degeneration are not noticeable to the untrained eye, making eye exams even more crucial. As the condition worsens, you may notice straight lines blurring in the center of your vision. You also may need extra light when focusing on objects such as a book or a menu.
In the advanced stages of Macular Degeneration, you will see a blind spot developing near the center of your vision. You may notice you are having a lot of trouble reading, recognizing faces, and performing your daily routine.
What causes Macular Degeneration?
Although the exact causes of Macular Degeneration are unknown, there are certain aspects that will raise your likelihood of developing this condition. Things such as obesity, increased sun exposure, smoking, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and a bad diet are all contributing factors. Hereditary factors such as a family history of Macular Degeneration and light-colored eyes are also thought to increase your risk for developing Macular Degeneration.
What are the signs and symptoms?
During the early stages of Macular Degeneration, symptoms may not be noticeable at all. As the drusen thickens and grows, you will notice symptoms occurring. It is vital to see an eye doctor right away when you begin experiencing these symptoms:
- Blurry or fuzzy vision
- Gray, empty, or dark spots in the middle of your vision
- Straight lines appear to be wavy
- Colors seem paler or lighter than they should be
- Objects seem smaller than they actually are
Can Macular Degeneration be prevented?
Medical professionals have identified ways to help alleviate the stress of Macular Degeneration, and to help delay the onset of this condition:
- Maintaining a healthy weight by working out regularly
- Quit smoking
- Protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays by wearing protective gear outside, like hats and sunglasses
- Controlling your blood pressure
- Consume a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables, fruit, fish, and whole grains
While there are no definitive answers about how to stop Macular Degeneration and what causes it, all eye care professionals agree that the best way to prevent further damage to your eyes is by having regular eye exams. By talking openly with your eye doctor about your lifestyle and family history, your doctor can assist in developing a plan to ensure that your eyes stay strong and healthy.
Preventing and Identifying Macular Degeneration
At The Eye Doctors, we are committed to providing the best eye care for our patients. That’s why we are proud to be one of the first eye care practices in Florida to offer MPOD testing. MPOD stands for Macular Pigment Optical Density and can help determine the risk of getting Age-related Macular Degeneration. Measurements overtime can assess changes in the macula and allows doctors to prescribe preventative measures and early treatment.
With 1/3 of all people are at risk of developing Macular degeneration regular monitoring is key to preventing irreversible vision loss. Ensure your eyes are at their healthiest by scheduling an appointment with The Eye Doctors today!