Macular degeneration presents in two forms; dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration. Among the two, dry macular degeneration is far more prevalent. Both the conditions affect the core region of the retina, the light-sensitive area in the back of the eye responsible for processing images that we see.
Dry macular degeneration is the deterioration associated with the formation of small yellow deposits called drusen under the macula. It affects the macula functioning as it thins and dries it out. The extent of central vision loss will be related to the location of the retinal thinning.
Patients with dry macular degeneration will have good central vision but severe functional limitations. This can include fluctuating vision, difficulty in reading and seeing at night. The early stage of dry macular degeneration causes minimal visual impairment.
Wet macular degeneration is less common, affecting only about ten to fifteen percent of the population. In this condition, abnormal blood vessels develop under the macula and the retina, bleeding and discharging fluid, causing the macula to bulge out or change position. As a result, the central vision can get destroyed or distorted, leading to rapid vision loss. Patients with wet macular degeneration may see dark spots in their central vision and straight lines appearing wavy.
There are three stages of macular degeneration whose symptoms progress differently. They include:
This stage is measured by the presence of drusen in an eye exam. Most patients do not experience vision loss in the early stage.
There could be vision loss in this stage, though any symptoms may not be evident. An eye exam will check for more significant amounts of drusen.
In the stage of late macular degeneration, you will have noticeable vision loss.
There are specific antioxidant vitamins and zinc that can decrease the macular degeneration effects. When these minerals and vitamins are taken daily as supplements with a healthy diet, they can considerably slow down the advancement of the disease and serve as a treatment for macular degeneration. Besides, patients above the age of fifty should regularly get their eyes checked to prevent vision loss from macular degeneration.
If you think you have developed macular degeneration, and want to get checked for it, visit our office, Summerlin Vision, at 900 S Pavilion Center Dr #140, Las Vegas, NV 89144. You can also reach us at (702) 243-8788.