Macular degeneration, or AMD, is one of the leading causes of blindness in aging adults. When the macula degenerates, the images are not able to be adequately received, which leads to a gradual loss of central vision. The eye is made up of the pupil, retina, macula and optic nerve. Images via light are received through the pupil and are focused by the retina. The macula then sends the images to the brain via the optic nerve. The macula is the central portion of the retina, responsible for producing clear focused images directly in front of you. This type of vision is most used in reading, watching TV, or seeing things directly in front of you.
AMD generally develops slowly, without pain. Sometimes it can come on more suddenly, but that does not mean you will lose your sight altogether. At first, you may detect distortions in your vision, such as straight lines being wavy or bent. Other symptoms may be a fuzziness or dark patch in your central vision. Also, it may become more difficult adjusting to changes in light levels when transitioning from outdoors to dimly lit rooms. Having a difficult time recognizing faces or seeing colors well may also be signs of AMD.
Prevention and Treatment
There are things you can do to reduce your chances of developing or slowing the progress of macular degeneration. Remaining smoke-free and at a healthy weight is a critical component reducing your chances of developing the disease by as much as 250%. Eating a healthy diet of green leafy vegetables or vegetables high in beta-carotene dramatically benefits the health of your eyes. The best prevention though is by getting regular eye exams and consulting your doctor if you notice vision changes. Contact us if you need help arranging care.