Do You Need to Be Worried about Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
Did you know that macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss among older Australians? It is a disease that is typically (but not always) related to advancing age and involves the deterioration of the macula, the tiny part of the eye that determines visual acuity. If you're getting older and suspect that you may have an issue with your eyes, what should you know about this illness?
What Is the Macula?
The macula is a very important part of the visual system and can be crucial when trying to perform any task that requires an ability to perceive fine detail. At an advanced stage, issues with the macula can make it hard to read, drive, watch TV or even to recognise faces. Consequently, it is something that needs to be addressed as soon as possible or it can significantly affect your quality of life.
There are two different forms of macular degeneration: wet and dry. Neovascular (wet) involves the growth of extra blood vessels in the macula, while non-neovascular (dry) is the most common form and is most often found in early-onset macular degeneration. With the dry version, the macular tissue gets thinner as it gets older, and yellowish spots can accumulate in or around the macula. These spots break off the tissue as it deteriorates.
If somebody is suffering from dry macular degeneration, then they may notice a very gradual loss of vision in the centre of the eye. Wet macular degeneration tends to come on much more quickly, however, and needs to be treated aggressively at the outset in order to provide an element of relief.
It may be possible to offset some of the symptoms by taking supplements that contain antioxidants, vitamins and multivitamins. In particular, lutein and zeaxanthin are recommended in helping to reduce the risk that dry AMD may progress into wet.
You may begin to notice something strange if you're looking at straight lines (such as a spreadsheet) and some of those lines appear to be blurred or wavy, or there may be a dark spot towards the centre. If you encounter this problem, then you should get in touch with an expert right away for further guidance.
Always ensure that you get regular eye exams as you get older, as practitioners can often detect early signs of this disease before any symptoms materialise.