Having good eyesight is one of the most valuable physical traits we have as humans. We need sharp vision for everyday moments such as driving a car, reading a book, watching our kids and grandkids play, or even looking into someone’s eyes. Sometimes we take our eyesight for granted. We may go outside and not wear sunglasses. Excessive computer use irritates our eyes. Even maintaining an unhealthy diet can contribute to poor eyesight. But as we grow older, our eyesight is prone to change naturally.
We lose vision clarity and sharpness and may end up wearing glasses. Eyesight deterioration can be caused by a number of reasons, and one major cause is macular degeneration. Here are three questions you should ask your eye doctor about macular degeneration.
What Is Macular Degeneration?
Over the years, glaucoma and cataracts were the leading destroyers of vision, but today, macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness. Macular degeneration is essentially a disease of the eye that causes retina damage, primarily affecting your central vision. Over time, your vision may become continuously blurry. For example, you may not be able to read a stop sign clearly from afar. Usually, the peripheral vision stays intact at the beginning, as the central vision fades, and if left unchecked, you may lose your eyesight completely.
There are two types of macular degeneration: wet and dry. Wet macular degeneration is much more serious and it is caused by the leakage of fluids from vessels under the retina. The degeneration occurs rapidly and is much more severe. Dry macular degeneration is more common than wet, and the degeneration occurs when parts of the macula thin out with increases in age. From there, small clumps of protein called drusen grow on the eye, and vision can be slowly lost.
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a painless disease. Most people don’t even know they have it and it can strike at any age. In older people, age is the common cause of macular degeneration, as people over the age of 55 face twice the risk of getting this disease than people in their 20s or 30s. Although the specific causes are still under investigation, there are strong correlations based on genetics, race, and habits such as smoking.
What Are the Treatment Options?
A permanent cure for macular degeneration is yet to be discovered. However, there are treatments that can be done to slow the progression or prevent the disease altogether. Once you have been diagnosed with any form of macular degeneration, a doctor may recommend a regimen that includes diet changes, exercise, and in many cases, surgery.
A diagnosis of macular degeneration is not the end of the world. While it may seem dire, it can be controlled or prevented. Regular visits to an eye doctor or specialist such as an ophthalmologist are highly recommended as you age. Simple lifestyle changes can be the key to maintaining good visual health.
Remember that early detection and diagnosis is better than letting a slow problem become a permanent disability. To set up an eye exam and talk about your visual health with an eye doctor, contact us online today at New Vision Eye Center. You can also call us at 772-257-8700.