Macular Degeneration: Symptoms, Signs, Causes, and Treatment

Macular Degeneration: Symptoms, Signs, Causes, and Treatment

Feb 01, 2022

Whenever most people who know a thing or two about macular degeneration hear about the eye condition, it strikes fear in their hearts, and with good reason. Living with vision loss is not a pleasant feeling, and you can never really be prepared enough for the experience. This is why our optometrist near you offers macular degeneration screening in Calgary to help catch this eye disease before it progresses.

Macular degeneration is among the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 2 million Canadians over 50 years – more than cataracts and glaucoma. As it stands, a cure for the disease doesn’t exist. However, our optometrist in Seton can offer ways that will help slow the progression of the disease.

Macular Degeneration, In a Nutshell

Macular degeneration is a prevalent eye condition that affects most people above 50 years. The eye disorder occurs because of the thinning of the macula, the part of your retina responsible for clear eyesight in your direct line of vision. You will have reduced central vision or blurred vision when you have the disorder.

The disorder can start developing in one eye, then affect the other eye or affect both eyes. As the disease progresses, your vision will worsen and affect your ability to carry out everyday activities such as reading and even recognizing faces.

You might not entirely lose your sight, but vision loss is typically central. Most patients with macular degeneration usually retain their peripheral vision. In some cases, the mild central vision loss can be mild and, in others, very severe.

This is why our optometrist near you advocates for macular degeneration screening in Calgary to ensure that you start on self-care measures and other therapies to delay vision loss.

The Different Types of Macular Degeneration

There are two kinds of macular degeneration:

Dry (atrophic) Macular Degeneration

Almost 90% of the patients with macular degeneration have a dry form. This form of macular degeneration occurs after the gradual deterioration of the cells in the macula. Then, small, yellow-white spots accumulate under the macula. Our optometrist in Seton can see these spots using standard eye examination equipment. The yellow-white spots can be viewed at any stage but are more common among people over 55 years.

Wet (Neovascular or exudative) Macular Degeneration

When you have the wet form, abnormal blood vessels grow under the macula. The blood vessels may leak blood or fluid, diminishing or distorting central vision. The disorder can affect one eye and then affect your other eye later. Vision loss in this form of macular degeneration can be rapid compared to the dry form.

What Are the Causes of Macular Degeneration?

The exact causes of macular degeneration are not exactly known. At the moment, what we know about the disease is that the causes are complex but highly connected to heredity and the environment.

Researchers are still trying to discover why the cells degenerate since this will help find the correct treatment for the disease. Some of the risk factors are race (Caucasians are more likely to develop eye disorder, smoking, family history, old age, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration symptoms always develop over time and without pain. The symptoms include:

  • Reduced central vision in both eyes or one eye
  • Difficulty recognizing faces
  • Visual distortions such as straight lines appearing bent
  • Increased difficulty to adapting to dim or low light levels
  • Increased blurriness of printed words
  • The need for brighter lights when you are doing close-up work or reading
  • Decreased brightness or intensity of colors
  • A well-defined blind spot or blurry spot in your field of vision

Macular Degeneration Treatment

As mentioned earlier, macular degeneration is not a curable eye disorder. Don’t lose heart since there are some things that you can do to decrease the risk and, if possible slow the progression of the disorder if you have been diagnosed.

For instance, our optometrist near you may recommend that you pursue lifestyle changes such as exercise, dieting, stopping smoking, and protecting your eyes from ultraviolet light. Also, you may take nutritional supplements that can help delay the disorder’s progression.

You can also get the implantable telescope (IMT) to help you gain some vision back if you have dry macular degeneration. On the other hand, treatments for wet macular degeneration may include eye injections of angiogenesis inhibitors.

You may also need to seek a low vision therapist to help you adapt and solve specific issues that you may encounter. If the disease progresses, you may need to modify your home to accommodate the changes in your vision.

The Takeaway

Macular degeneration is incurable at the moment. However, most treatments and therapies are geared towards decreasing the progression of the disease. Therefore, contact us at Premier Eye Care if you need macular degeneration screening in Calgary.

Click to listen highlighted text!