Macular Degeneration Is The Leading Cause of Vision Loss

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss. The macula attaches to the back of the retina. It turns images into signals that go to your brain and allows you to see small details clearly. When the macula starts to break down, you have trouble seeing the finer details in the images. For example, you might be able to see the outline of your watch, but not make out its dials.

It affects more than 10 million Americans, more people have it than cataracts and glaucoma combined. People over 60 are diagnosed with macular degeneration the most. Whites are more likely to get it than other races, and women more than men.

vision loss


vision loss



Vision Loss Symptoms

Early signs include blurred vision and trouble seeing color and fine details. As the disease gets worse, you lose your center vision. You may have trouble reading, driving, and making out people’s faces. You will need brighter light to do daily tasks and will find it harder to judge distances or go up and down steps.

Vision Loss Causes

Genetics and smoking are the leading causes of macular degeneration. For example, smokers are twice as likely to have it as people who don’t smoke.

Most people have a dry type of macular degeneration. That means small white or yellow fatty deposits, called drusen, have formed in your retina and are causing it to break down. The dry kind tends to get worse very slowly. With the wet version, your abnormal blood vessels damage your macula and change the shape of your retina. While it’s less common, the wet type is the cause of 90% of all vision.



Your eye doctor will put drops in your eyes to widen your pupils. He looks look for fatty deposits and other signs of trouble in the back of your retina. If your doctor thinks you have the wet type, he’ll take a special scan of your eye that can show any problem blood vessels. Yearly eye exams can help your doctor spot early signs before you have any symptoms.


Treatment for the Dry Type

This kind of macular degeneration may best be treated with a mix of vitamins C and E, and two kinds of antioxidants. Called lutein and zeaxanthin, they’re in green leafy vegetables, eggs, and other foods, and they help filter out high-energy blue wavelengths that can harm cells in your eyes. They won’t cure the disease, but they might slow it down.


Treatment for the Wet Type

If you have this kind of vision loss, your doctor may recommend a drug called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF blocks a chemical that enlarges retinal blood vessels.


Lifestyle Changes

There’s no cure for macular degeneration, but you can make healthy choices to slow it down and keep your symptoms from getting worse: Get regular exercise, protect your eyes from the sun with sunglasses, and if you smoke, quit. Try to eat a healthy diet rich in leafy green vegetables and fish. Keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check can help, too.


Laser Surgery

If you have wet macular degeneration, your doctor may recommend this. He’ll point a laser at the extra blood vessels in your eye to break up them up. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is another option. A special light-sensitive drug is put into your body through a vein in your arm, then triggered with a laser to destroy problem blood vessels.



Watch these excellent videos on macular degeneration and vision loss:


Leave a Comment

eight + 12 =