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WHAT IS MACULAR DEGENERATION?
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness
Few people are aware that macular degeneration is an incurable eye disease and that it is the leading cause of blindness for those aged 55 and older in the United States, affecting more than 10 million Americans.
Macular degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. The retina's central portion, known as the macula, is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye, and it controls our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces or colors, and see objects in fine detail.
As people age, their chances for developing eye diseases increase dramatically. Unfortunately, the specific factors that cause macular degeneration are not conclusively known and research into this little-understood disease is limited by insufficient funding.
Forms of Macular Degeneration
Macular Degeneration is diagnosed as either dry (non-neo-vascular) or wet (neo-vascular). Neo-vascular refers to growth of new blood vessels in an area, such as the macula, where they are not supposed to be.
The dry form is more common than the wet, with about 80 to 90 % of macular degeneration patients diagnosed with dry macular degeneration.
Dry macular degeneration: is an early stage of the disease and may result from the aging and thinning of macular tissues, depositing of pigment in the macula or a combination of both.
Dry macular degeneration is diagnosed when yellowish spots known as drusen begin to accumulate from deposits or debris from deteriorating tissue mostly around the macula. Gradual central vision loss may occur with dry macular degeneration but is not nearly as severe as wet macular degeneration
Wet macular degeneration: in about 10 % of cases, dry macular degeneration progresses to the more advanced and damaging form of the eye disease. With wet macular degeneration, new blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid. This leakage causes permanent damage to light-sensitive retinal cells, which die off and create blind spots in central vision.
Macular degeneration symptoms and signs
Macular degeneration usually produces a slow, sudden painless loss of vision. Early signs of vision include shadowy areas in your central vision or unusually fuzzy or distorted vision.
Viewing a chart of black lines arranged in a graph pattern called amsler grid is one way to tell if you are having these vision problems.
What causes macular degeneration?
Many forms of macular degeneration are linked to aging and related deterioration of eye tissue crucial for good vision
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