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Macular degeneration is an eye disease that affects your macula. Often brought about by normal aging, this disease is more likely to strike people over the age of 50. Therefore, it’s important to keep regular appointments with your optometrist in Lexington, KY, as you age.
What Is the Macula?
Your macula is a small area located in the middle of your retina. It’s responsible for showing you clear details, such as written text and the features of your loved one’s faces. It also influences your central vision and how you see colors.
If your macula becomes damaged, you may lose part or all of your central vision, though your peripheral vision may remain unaffected.
What Causes the Macula to Degenerate?
There are both wet and dry forms of macular degeneration. The dry form is most common. And while doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes it, they do know it’s marked by the slow breakdown of light-sensitive cells in your macula. Environment and genetics may both play roles in this form of the disease.
Wet macular degeneration is caused by an abnormal growth of blood vessels beneath your retina, though no one is really certain why this occurs. When the blood vessels rupture, they leak blood and fluid, which causes blind spots to appear in your central vision.
Doctors have identified groups of patients who may be more at risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. They include:
- Patients who are over the age of 50.
- Patients who smoke.
- Patients who have hypertension or high blood pressure
- Patients who eat a high-fat diet
Therefore, if you fall into one or more of these groups, it’s especially important that you see your eye doctor regularly. Diagnostic testing can detect macular degeneration while it’s still in its earliest stages.
How Do I Know if I Have Macular Degeneration?
Symptoms of this eye disease include blurred vision, straight lines that appear wavy, and difficulty distinguishing between others’ facial features. Over time, you may develop dark spots in your central vision that make it impossible to perform routine tasks such as reading or driving. If you notice any of these signs, see your optometrist right away.
What Can Be Done to Treat Macular Degeneration?
If you are diagnosed with macular degeneration, your vision specialist will discuss options for treatment. While lost vision can’t be restored, they may be able to prevent further damage from happening. Common treatment options for macular degeneration include the use of low-vision devices to help you adjust to vision changes and injections to help reduce the damage caused by leaky blood vessels near the retina.
If you’re at risk of developing macular degeneration in Lexington, KY, call Eye Max to schedule your comprehensive eye exam. Your Eye Max professionals are friendly and experienced, and they can help you manage the worsening symptoms of this and other eye diseases. Call today to schedule a time that’s convenient for you.