Macular Degeneration — blurred vision

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Symptoms of Wet Macular Degeneration

Symptoms of Wet Macular Degeneration 0

Symptoms of Wet Macular Degeneration


Symptoms of degrading vision often build slowly and go unnoticed for a long period of  time until they reach a degree of severity that may no longer be ignored. One may notice that he or she now needs glasses to read the text of a favorite book or magazine. Headaches grow more frequent - the result of constantly strained eye muscles. Once bright and vibrant colors may even take on more dull and muted hues.

While many conditions may result in impaired vision, wet macular degeneration is one of the most common culprits. According to AMD.org, when one is afflicted with this form of macular degeneration the membrane beneath the retina thickens and eventually breaks, disrupting the supply of critical oxygen to the macula. In response to this assault, the body forms new, abnormal blood vessels which grow up from beneath the retina toward the macula. These new blood vessels are quite delicate and are prone to leaking, which leads to scarring of the macula. This causes damage to both the retina and macula and often results in a rapid degradation of vision that, once lost, cannot be restored.

As is often the case with illness, catching wet macular degeneration early is key so one may take action to minimize its negative effects. While the condition is fairly serious, there exist several treatment options that can be highly effective if applied early. Following are a few telltale signs of wet macular degeneration.

  • Slightly blurred vision
  • Visual distortions in which straight lines may appear curved or crooked
  • Blind spots that most often appear in the middle of the visual field and that grow larger if left untreated
  • Hallucinations that involve seeing objects, animals, or people that aren‚Äôt actually present

Along with watching for symptoms, it is also important to know the risk factors for wet macular degeneration. Taking steps to reduce these risk factors is a critical step to take along the path of risk reduction. Additional risk factors for developing this condition include:

AMD Macular Degeneration   AMD Macular Degeneration

Knowledge is power. With an increased awareness of both symptoms and risk factors, one can detect and guard against the development of wet macular degeneration before it has a chance to threaten his or her vision. Additionally, eliminating the additional risk factors for this condition will not only help to protect one’s vision, it will also contribute to an overall greater level of health and vitality.


One Love,

Dr. Jenna Zigler, Eye Love

Dr. Jenna Zigler


Sources:

http://www.amd.org/what-is-macular-degeneration/wet-amd/

http://www.medicinenet.com/macular_degeneration/article.htm

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Macular-degeneration/Pages/Symptoms.aspx

What you need to know about Macular Degeneration vs. Macular Dystrophy

What you need to know about Macular Degeneration vs. Macular Dystrophy 4

What you need to know about Macular Degeneration vs. Macular Dystrophy

What you need to know

Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration causes more cases of severe vision loss than cataracts and glaucoma combined. It is incurable and the damage done before treatment or surgery cannot be reversed. It happens when the macula, the central portion of the retina, deteriorates. That deterioration means that images aren't processed correctly. People can have wavy or blurred vision. Eventually, central vision can be completely lost and the patient may even lose the ability to see the faces of loved ones.

The most common type is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD may be caused by both genetics and environmental factors. Scientists are working on learning for certain, but they're restrained by little funding for new studies. They do know that risk for AMD increases with age because it occurs mostly in those 55 and older.

People with a family history have a higher risk of developing AMD than those who lack that history. Caucasians are more likely to develop it than Black people or Hispanics/Latinos.  Smoking doubles the risk! You can slow the progression of vision loss by making changes in diet, exercise, quitting or not starting smoking, and protecting the eyes from ultraviolet light with a great pair of UV protected sunglasses.

One form of macular degeneration, Stargardt’s disease, is found in younger people. It's caused by a recessive gene. That means that the parents probably don’t have the disease and might not be aware that they’re carriers.

Macular Dystrophy

Macular dystrophy, on the other hand, is rare. It leads to cell damage in the macula, which in turn leads to vision loss, and it has no cure. Those are the only similarities. The cause may often be a substance called lipofuscin building up in the cells of the macula. The lipofuscin blocks central vision, making it blurry or warped.

There are quite a few types of macular dystrophy but a few more common ones. Best Disease presents in children while Vitelliform Macular Dystrophy presents in adults, but the dystrophies are thought to be within the same family. Best Disease is definitely inherited (related to a gene called BEST1). If a parent has Best Disease, the chance of their child developing it is high. It develops between the ages of 3 and 15, but may not be diagnosed until the start of vision loss later in life.

Vitelliform Macular Dystrophy may or may not be genetic. Scientists have isolated the gene (PRPH2), but less than a quarter of people who develop the disease have the mutated gene. They don’t know what causes the majority of cases. Part of the problem is that each case of both diseases is unique to the person who has it.

Conclusion

Macular degeneration and macular dystrophy both attack the macular portion of the retina, destroy central vision, and neither can be cured. Once they do damage, it cannot be reversed, but it can sometimes be treated. More research is needed before both are understood fully. Do you or someone you know suffer from macular dystrophy? Let us know!


One Love,

Dr. Jenna Zigler, Eye Love

Dr. Jenna Zigler

Other Macular Degeneration articles by Dr. Zigler: Managing Macular Degeneration: Diet and Lifestyle; How Fast Does Macular Degeneration Progress?; Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration?

We would love for you to join our Macular Degeneration Support Community on Facebook.

 

 

Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration­?

Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration­? 1

Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration

Does everyone with Macular Degeneration eventually go blind?

A person who has been diagnosed with macular degeneration is naturally concerned about permanently losing their sight since the eye disease is the number one cause of severe blindness.

What is Macular Degeneration?

At the front of an eye there’s a lens and an opening, which both adjust to bring objects in focus for the retina at the back of the eye. The retina is a delicate tissue that’s very sensitive to light, similar to the film in a camera. The macula is found in the middle of the retina where the incoming light is focused. It is responsible for all central vision, including color.

Macular degeneration occurs when the cells of the macula become damaged, then stop working properly. It is generally an age-related condition. However, people who are younger, even children, can develop a form of macular degeneration known as macular dystrophy.

What  are the symptoms?

There are two forms of macular degeneration, wet and dry. Their causes are mostly unknown. The macula starts to deteriorate and central vision slowly breaks down. It often occurs in just one eye initially but eventually spreads to both eyes. In the earlier stages, central vision may become blurred or distorted.

The dry form develops over a period of several months. Patients may become very sensitive to light and/or actually see lights that are not actually there. As the disease gets worse, a dark, blurry spot may appear in the middle of the vision. This spot appears because cells in the macula have stopped working. Over time, the blurred spot may get larger and darker, reducing more of the central vision. Wet macular degeneration can develop at any time and is often thought of as the more severe form of AMD.

What’s the risk of blindness?

The wet form of macular degeneration is the more severe of the two. It occurs as new blood vessels behind the retina start to grow toward the macula. According to brightfocus.org, the wet form affects about 10% of people with macular degeneration. The risk of vision loss is significant, but it’s not absolute and can be prevented with prompt and proper treatment. No one will ever go completely blind from macular degeneration.

Prevention

Although most cases of wet macular degeneration are due to genetics, there are a number of lifestyle and dietary factors that can affect the risk of developing the dry form of the eye disease. A study conducted by the National Eye Institute found that higher levels of antioxidants, like pycnogenol or grape seed extract, taken daily in combination with zinc, can reduce the risk of advanced macular degeneration by 25%.

Other studies have noted beneficial changes to a diet rich in dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale. Ultraviolet light also can damage the retina and increase the risk of developing macular degeneration. Therefore, it is extremely important to protect eyes when outdoors with a great pair of UV protected sunglasses.

As always, knowledge is power so getting the latest information about macular degeneration is extremely important. Any tips you’ve heard that we may have missed? Let us know below!


One Love,

Dr. Jenna Zigler, Eye Love

Dr. Jenna Zigler

 

Other Macular Degeneration articles by Dr. Zigler: Managing Macular Degeneration: Diet and Lifestyle; How Fast Does Macular Degeneration Progress?; Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration?

We would love for you to join our Macular Degeneration Support Community on Facebook.

 

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