As you age, a variety of age-related eye conditions may arise, including one of the most common, macular degeneration. This is a chronic eye disease that affects the macula, the specialised part of the retina responsible for central vision.
This blog post covers everything one needs to know about macular degeneration – from its causes and symptoms to treatments and prevention strategies. So whether you're living with the condition or simply want to learn more about it, keep reading.
Causes of Macular Degeneration
Scientists are not entirely sure what causes age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, there are some risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing the condition – these include ageing, genetics, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and more. While you may not be able to control all of these factors, avoiding smoking and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can lower your risk of developing AMD.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration often develops gradually and may not be noticeable during the early stages of the disease. However, as it progresses, common symptoms may include blurry or distorted vision, difficulty reading or recognising faces, decreased colour perception, and more. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor for an eye exam.
Treatment Options for Macular Degeneration
While there is currently no cure for macular degeneration, there are treatment options available that can slow down the progression of the disease and manage its symptoms. These include injections into the eye, laser therapy, and vitamin supplements. Your eye doctor can help you determine the best treatment option for your specific case.
Prevention Strategies for Macular Degeneration
While there is no surefire way to prevent AMD, there are a few strategies that can help lower your risk and protect your vision as you age. These include eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and protecting your eyes from UV rays by wearing sunglasses and a hat. Additionally, regular eye exams are key in catching and managing AMD early on.
Living with Macular Degeneration
As macular degeneration progresses, it may become more challenging to complete daily activities such as reading or driving. However, there are aids and adaptations available that can make these tasks easier. These include reading magnifiers, talking books, and large-print books. Additionally, adjusting lighting and contrast settings on your electronic devices can help improve visibility.
If you or a loved one is living with macular degeneration, it’s important to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment options available for managing this chronic eye condition. By taking preventative measures, scheduling regular eye exams, and working with your eye doctor to determine the best course of treatment for your specific case, you can slow down the progressive nature of this disease and maintain your vision for longer.