Macular degeneration is a common eye condition marked by the deterioration of the area of the retina called the macula. This small part of the retina is responsible for central and detail vision, so its deterioration marks the overall deterioration of your central vision and makes it harder to recognize faces, read the newspaper or perform any action that requires fine hand-eye coordination. Dr. Vincent Penza of City Optometry in San Francisco, California explains, “Although macular degeneration is generally linked to old age, it is possible to develop it at any age. Macular degeneration usually does not take a person's sight away very quickly, and there are generally no other symptoms. This is why it happens quite often that people who are not cautious about having regular comprehensive eye exams and eye disease screenings may miss the development of this eye condition until it is too late to recover their lost vision.”
Two types of macular degeneration exist, dry and wet:
· Dry macular degeneration is much more common. You may experience blurry distance and/or reading vision, colors may seem less vivid, you may have trouble seeing in dim lighting and you may have trouble recognizing faces, even people that you know well. You may also consistently see a blank or blurry spot in the center of your vision. It is possible for this form od macular degeneration to affect only one of your eyes. If this is the case, you may not even notice it, since your other eye may compensate for the loss of sight.
· Wet macular degeneration is much more rare and much more dangerous. It carries with it the real threat of total, irreversible blindness. Many symptoms are the same as those displayed by the dry form of macular degeneration. You may also find that straight lines seem bent or crooked. You are more likely to develop wet macular degeneration if you smoke, have weight issues or high blood pressure.
Dr. Penza adds, “The importance of regular comprehensive eye exams cannot be overstated. Regularly scheduled comprehensive eye exams will help your doctor monitor your eyes and screen for early warning signs that any eye condition, including macular degeneration, could be developing. Since macular degeneration steals your vision slowly, and cannot be reversed, the best defense against is early detection and early treatment.”
No federally approved method exists for the treatment of macular degeneration, but many experts point to evidence that certain health supplements may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Vitamins C and E are two of the main supplements that show a possible benefit in lowering risk. These and other supplements may also help those who have already developed the dry form of macular degeneration to prevent worsening of the condition and development into the wet form.
For more information, or to make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam, call Dr. Penza today!