Across the world, vision loss and blindness are linked to vitamin deficiencies, cataracts, trachoma, and various other conditions.
In Australia, aging and age-related macular degeneration remain significant contributors to blindness and visual impairment. While many perceive macular degeneration as the ultimate cause of irreversible impairment, experts like Personal Eyes laser surgeons are working hard to treat the condition.
So, what is macular degeneration, and how can it be treated?
Macular degeneration is a condition that is usually associated with aging. It is also referred to as age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). Other than ARMD, there are also different, less common, and less known types of macular degeneration.
The primary symptoms that follow the conditions are:
- Gradual loss of vision
- Difficulty to perform day-to-day tasks
- Decrease in the ability to see intricate visuals like patterns and fine prints
Macular degeneration remains one of the leading causes of vision impairment in seniors. The disease presents itself in two types, namely, wet AMD and dry AMD.
Out of the two conditions, dry AMD is much more common than the latter. They both hit the central part of the retina, which is the light-sensitive zone that works to process the images that you see.
How Does It Affect The Vision?
Besides other macular degeneration causes, age-related macular degeneration is by far the vastly noticed condition. Macular degeneration gradually deteriorates the sharp central vision, which is needed to view objects.
The macula is the area located in the back of your eye responsible for central vision, coloured vision, and fine details. When the macula undergoes damage, it can get harder to recognise faces, read or watch television.
In a few cases, AMD tends to advance slowly, and the person will feel no changes in the vision until very late. However, in other cases, the condition can also progress faster and lead to loss of vision in one or both eyes.
Signs and Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
The disease is known to produce a painless loss of vision slowly. However, in certain rare cases, vision loss can also be sudden.
Some of the early signs of vision loss due to macular degeneration include:
- Noticing distorted and fuzzy spots
- Shadowy areas in the central vision
Reliable eye specialists will often notice early signs of the disease before the actual symptoms occur. If you visit an eye clinic at the right time, a simple retinal exam will show the presence of fuzzy spots and shadowy areas.
As the condition progresses in a time-dependent manner, you must consult expert eye specialists as soon as you recognise the symptoms.
How Is Macular Degeneration Treated?
When it comes to wet macular degeneration, a few treatments can temporarily cure the condition. Injects, photodynamic therapy and laser surgery can help slow down the progression of the disease to an extent.
Laser surgery is known to be one of the most practical options for treating macular degeneration. It can halt or slow down vision loss in a person.
Photodynamic therapy makes use of verteporfin. Like laser surgery, the treatment also aids in slowing down the rate of vision loss with temporary results.
Unlike wet macular degeneration, there is no treatment currently available for dry macular degeneration. However, certain studies show that visible lifestyle changes can halt dry macular degeneration related to aging.
The lifestyle changes include changes in dietary habits. For example, you can have more vegetables and fruits, unsaturated fats like olive oil, whole grains, and fish. However, it is always better to reach out to specialists, such as Personal Eyes laser surgeons, for guidance.
If you are encountering any of the symptoms related to macular degeneration, it may be time you reach out to an expert laser surgeon for help. Leaving it unchecked for a long time can accelerate vision loss and cause other complications. So, make sure to book a meeting with a specialist for an eye check-up soon.