Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss, but many people never hear about it unless it happens to them. Here at Eye Consultants of Northern Virginia, we believe that the best way to prevent people from suffering vision loss as a result of macular degeneration is to spread awareness about the condition.
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
As its name suggests, macular degeneration occurs when there is damage to the macula, a central area of the retina. A healthy macula provides high resolution, light vision, and color vision. In age-related macular degeneration (AMD) the disease occurs as a result of natural deterioration. Age-related deterioration isn't the only cause, though. Many eye experts believe that macular degeneration is strongly tied to heredity and the environment. Those with a family history of macular degeneration are more likely to develop AMD. Stargardt disease patients are at a high risk for developing this eye disease, as are smokers.
Signs and Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
The degeneration sets in slowly, making it difficult to detect early on. That is why annual eye exams are crucial in diagnosing the eye disease before it progresses. Macular degeneration is characterized by blurry vision, difficulty reading, light sensitivity, distorted lines, black areas in your central vision, and whiteouts within your field of vision.
Types of Macular Degeneration
AMD has two different forms: dry and wet. Dry AMD indicates that a patient is in the early stages of the disease. It is characterized by white or yellow protein deposits called drusen that form on a person’s macula. Wet AMD is the more advanced form of this disease, and indicates that it has advanced to the point of abnormal blood vessel growth. Wet AMD can lead to permanent vision loss.
How to Treat Macular Degeneration
There is no cure for macular degeneration. It is a permanent condition and any vision loss it causes cannot be healed. There are, however, options available to manage the disease, especially in its early stages. Nutritional supplementation has been used as a treatment plan. Diets high in omega-3 fatty acid can be very helpful in creating strong, healthy eyes. For the later stages of AMD, medication is often needed to improve vision.
Finding an Eye Doctor in Springfield & Woodbridge, VA
We here at Eye Consultants of Northern Virginia are here to help you take care of your eyes. Schedule an appointment today by calling us at (703) 451-6111.