Macular degeneration is a common type of degenerative eye disease that affects millions of Americans. It is also frequently called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), because it is far more likely to develop in people as they get older, especially once they reach 50 years old.
Macular degeneration is caused by the eventual thinning of the macula, which is a part of the retina that makes your vision appear clear. This typically results in blurring of words or shapes, less intense colors, and other issues. There is no known cure for macular degeneration, but eye health professionals can help you manage the condition with appropriate treatments.
What are the main differences between the types of macular degeneration?
There are two main types of macular degeneration: dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration. The dry version is much more common and less severe, and it accounts for approximately 80-90% of all macular degeneration cases. Most instances of dry macular degeneration progress relatively slowly, and while your vision may degrade over time it usually does not result in total vision loss.
Some cases of dry macular degeneration develop into wet macular degeneration, which is caused when fluid and blood leak from abnormal blood vessels in the eye and damage the macula. While these cases are more rare, they typically result in vision loss that occurs more quickly and is more severe.
Symptoms and warning signs associated with macular degeneration
Because most vision problems associated with macular degeneration progress gradually and without any pain, you may not know you have the condition until it has worsened significantly. In order to stave off the effects of macular degeneration, look carefully for the following symptoms and warnings:
- A reduction in your central vision in one or both eyes
- Needing brighter light when reading
- Blurriness of written words
- A decrease in color intensity
Keeping your eyes healthy as you age
Because age is a critical factor in macular degeneration, you should take extra precaution as you grow older in order to control the progression of the condition. Other factors such as smoking, genetics, obesity, and heart disease also increase your risk, so take care to manage these risk factors for the good of your eye health as well.
The best way to safeguard against the dangers of macular degeneration is to complete regular eye health exams, especially as you age. The eye health professionals at Florida Eye Specialists help thousands of patients manage their macular degeneration symptoms at our seven locations throughout the Jacksonville area. Contact us today to schedule an exam, and protect your eyes for the future.