Paducah, Kentucky Eye Care: What is Macular Degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is an eye disease caused by the deterioration of the macula, the central part of your retina responsible for sending image signals to the optic nerve. Macular degeneration impairs your central vision and your ability to drive, read, recognize colors, and see details in objects. People with advanced macular degeneration may retain some of their peripheral (outer) vision while losing much of their forward vision.
Your optometrist in Paducah, Kentucky urges adults over 50 to schedule yearly eye exams to monitor the possible development of macular degeneration. Although no cure exists for macular degeneration, your eye doctor can recommend lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements that may help delay the progression of this eye disease.
Who is at Risk for Macular Degeneration?
Age is the top risk factor for macular degeneration. If you have parents or grandparents with ARMD or have smoked most of your life, you are also at a higher risk for macular degeneration than other people over 50. Additional risk factors for ARMD include:
- Light blue, brown, or green irises
- High blood pressure and high cholesterol
Women are more likely to have macular degeneration than men only because women tend to live longer than men. Your risk of ARMD naturally increases with age.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration–When to Visit your Paducah, Kentucky Eye Doctor
During early-stage ARMD, you have problems with your vision. However, yellow deposits produced by dying macula cells will start accumulating under the retina. Only an eye exam can detect early-stage ARMD.
Once ARMD does start affecting your vision, you may become aware of one or more of the following:
- Reduced night vision
- Distorted, hazy vision
- Decreased color brightness or intensity
- Straight lines appearing wavy or broken
Progression rates for macular degeneration vary, depending on your age, health, and existing risk factors. The problem with ARMD, as with most eye diseases, is that visual changes are so gradual, you won’t notice them. That’s why scheduling yearly eye exams with your Paducah, KY optometrist is vital to detecting vision and eye disorders as soon as possible.
What is Dry Macular Degeneration?
Dry macular degeneration is the clinical term for age-related macular degeneration. Atrophic (dry) macular degeneration is diagnosed in nearly 90 percent of all ARMD cases. This form of macular degeneration progresses slowly as yellow deposits continue accumulating under the macula.
What is Wet Macular Degeneration?
Affecting about one out of every 100 adults diagnosed with ARMD, wet macular degeneration is a more serious form of macular degeneration that could cause partial blindness.
Wet macular degeneration occurs when retinal blood vessels abnormally grow and extend towards the macula. These abnormal blood vessels break easily and leak blood under the retina, causing the macula to pull away from underlying tissues. Signs of wet macular degeneration include a sudden, rapid loss of vision that primarily affects the center of the visual field.
Wet MD requires emergency eye care treatment from your Paducah, Kentucky optometrist to avoid permanent vision loss.
Treatment for Macular Degeneration
Although no medical treatment exists to treat macular degeneration, your eye doctor will discuss lifestyle and dietary choices that can slow the progression of ARMD or reduce your risk of developing ARMD. Protecting your eyes from sunlight, exercising, not smoking, and eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals beneficial to eye health are some treatment methods you and your optometrist in Paducah, KY can talk about at your next eye care appointment.
Call Brush Optical today if you think you may have symptoms of ARMD or to schedule an eye exam appointment for you or a family member. The blurry vision should never be ignored. It could be a sign of an eye disorder requiring immediate treatment.