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Signs and Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

This is an eye condition that usually affects people in their 50s or older. The condition causes problems with an individual’s central vision. Patients experience blurry vision as a result of macula thinning. The macula is responsible for vision in the direct line of sight. The peripheral vision usually remains unaffected. 

Dry macular degeneration usually develops in one of the eyes before affecting both eyes. The vision becomes worse over time, making it difficult to perform daily tasks. The severity of the condition differs among individuals.

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

Early detection can postpone vision loss as a result of macular degeneration. There are symptoms that can indicate the presence of the condition. The symptoms are usually gradual and are painless. They include:

  • Poor central vision.

  • Visual distortions causing straight lines to appear bent. 

  • Needing brighter lighting. 

  • Difficulty adjusting to low lighting.

  • Increased blurriness.

  • Reduced color brightness or intensity. 

  • Difficulty recognizing familiar faces.

What Causes Macular Degeneration

The exact cause of macular degeneration is not known, but studies indicate it may be due to environmental and hereditary factors. Several factors can contribute to the condition, among them diet, obesity, and smoking. 

The condition develops with age, which is why it is common among those who are over 60 years. As people get older, the tissue in the macular can thin, losing cells responsible for vision.

Types of Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration can either be dry or wet. More people have the dry type, but in some cases, it progresses to wet MD. Wet macular degeneration is characterized by leaking blood vessels that grow below the retina. 

Wet MD usually develops faster and can result in vision loss. Dry MD progresses slowly over the years. If it develops in one eye, the patient may not notice changes in vision. The good eye usually compensates for the weaker eye.    

Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration

Some factors increase the risk of an individual developing this condition. These include: 

  • Being over 50 years old.

  • Being in a family with a history of MD

  • Being Caucasian puts you at greater risk of developing MD. 

  • Being a smoker. 

  • Being obese. 

  • Having a cardiovascular disease or conditions that affect the blood vessels of the heart.

Prevention of Macular Degeneration

Some things can help in the prevention of MD. Some measures that can reduce the risk of developing the condition include managing other conditions. Following the doctor’s instructions and taking medication as recommended is important. 

Quitting the tobacco habit is a good preventive measure. It is important to eat a healthy diet and to maintain a healthy weight. Including fish in the diet is a great way to benefit from essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Getting routine eye examinations is the best way to identify early signs of MD. Early identification will help in prompt management.

For more on the signs and symptoms of macular degeneration, visit Fier Eye Care & Surgery Center at our offices in Saint Lucie or Stuart, Florida. You can call 772-400-2400 or 772-286-0007 today to schedule an appointment. 

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