In the previous article we looked at the retina, specifically its location in the eye, what its function is and how it operates. In this article we will take a closer look at Macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is a type of retina disease and also very common among retina problems. Macular degeneration is the most common cause of blindness in people over the age of 75 and is the third leading cause of blindness among all Koreans.
What is the macula?
The macula is a small but highly sensitive area located right in the center of the eye. The macula is responsible for 90% of our vision. The macula allows us to see the center of objects and also helps the eye distinguish colors by recognizing objects.
Macular degeneration is a gradual process and you may not even notice that it is happening in the initial stages. You might start to have slight difficulty seeing on days that you are run down, feel tired or sick. Symptoms such as slight color loss, small floaters, and trouble focusing due to blurry vision.
After a while the effects will become more pronounced and will start to be noticeable even when you are healthy and in good condition. When macular degeneration starts to become more serious you will start to see lines that should be straight, appear to be wavy or curved. For example you will look at a building and it might appear to be wavy. As the macular degeneration starts to progress even more, the center of objects will start to appear black.
Macular degeneration usually happens in one eye first. Due to adequate use of the other eye you might not even notice that you have a problem.
What causes macular degeneration?
Various causes may lead to macular degeneration, but we will only talk about the mist common causes.
- Age – As we age, our retina starts to tear and deteriorate. For this reason macular degeneration due to age is the most common cause, especially among over 60’s.
- Family genetics – Macular degeneration is a hereditary disease which means that sometimes even when you are completely healthy you will at some stage develop this disease.
- Smoking – Regularly being exposed to smoke dramatically increases your chances of macular degeneration.
- Overweight/Obesity – Individuals that are overweight also carry increased risk of suffering from macular degeneration.
The two main types of macular degeneration
Dry Macular Degeneration
The most common type of degeneration, appearing in 90% of people. Dry macular degeneration is an accumulation of waste in the retina. Usually this is a mild case of visual impairment and no real significant loss of vision will occur, if treated. However if left untreated dry macular degeneration will progress into wet macular degeneration .
Wet Macular Degeneration
Wet macular degeneration is the more serious form and accounts for 90% of blindness due to any form of macular degeneration. Severe visual impairment occurs when new blood vessels develop around the macula, causing bleeding in the retina.
At B&VIIT we treat macular degeneration before it becomes a serious problem with Injection Therapy.
Reference: “What is Macular Degeneration?” from AmerraMedical