Age-Related Macular Degeneration Is the Leading Cause of Blindness in Adults in the USA
Age-related macular degeneration blinds more adults than any other eye disease such as glaucoma, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy. At Carolina Vision Care in Greenville, your Doctors of Optometry get to know you personally and will evaluate for signs and symptoms of macular degeneration early. Here are the questions we hear most often about macular degeneration:
What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a condition that affects the macula, which sits at the center of your retina. The retina is the structure in the back of the eye that captures the images we see and sends this information to the brain. The center of the retina where you see the sharpest and clearest is the macula - it is responsible for focusing central vision to make it possible to drive a car, read a book or a screen, recognize colors and faces, and examine objects in fine detail. Macular degeneration occurs when the macula begins to break down with age causing loss of vision.
What are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?
There are some early warning signs that macular degeneration may be well on its way. Maybe you need bright light for reading, straight lines might begin to appear wavy. Or you see a blurry spot in the middle of your vision, and that blurry spot gets bigger and bigger over time.
You should see your eye doctor at least once a year even if you have no symptoms at all. Your optometrist can catch the earliest stages of macular degeneration even before you experience any symptoms at all. The prompt diagnosis followed by prompt treatment can save your sight.
What are the Types of Macular Degeneration?
There are two types of macular degeneration, “dry” and “wet.” Most cases of macular degeneration are "dry" macular degeneration, which is the breakdown of the macula with age. About 10 to 15 percent of cases are "wet" macular degeneration, which is when abnormal blood vessels grow into the retina. These blood vessels leak blood and fluids that damage the macula. This is an advanced stage of the disease.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Prevent Macular Degeneration?
There are three lifestyle changes that make a big difference in preventing macular degeneration:
The first is something doctors will tell you about many other diseases: Don't smoke! Smoking doubles your risk of developing macular degeneration after age 55.
Protect your eyes from ultraviolet light. Your sunglasses don't just need to block sunlight, they need specifically to block ultraviolet light. Your Doctor of Optometry can help you find appropriate sunglasses for the prevention of age-related macular degeneration.
The other thing you can do that may slow the progression of macular degeneration is taking certain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Your optometrist can help you make sure you are getting exactly the nutrients you need.
Regular visits to your doctor at Carolina Vision Care can save your sight.
Carolina Vision Care is a local, family-owned, family-run optometry clinic in Greenville, NC. Drs. Thomas, Scott, and Natalie McIntosh will take the time to get to know you so they can recognize the early changes in your sight that need correction and intervention.
Request an appointment with us by texting or calling (252)-752-4380.