Macular Degeneration Explained
Your macula forms part of your retina, which is located in the rear of your eye. It plays a role in image production and the transfer of light to your brain for processing. When the health of your macula deteriorates you can develop macular degeneration, which is a condition that impedes your central vision. This means that when looking straight ahead you will experience vision loss, which can be minor or significant.
There are two main types of macular degeneration. Wet macular degeneration occurs as a result of blood vessels bleeding around the macula, and this causes a dark spot to form in your central vision. Dry macular degeneration is the more common of the two types and occurs when cells around the macula are damaged by drusen. Drusen consists of proteins and lipids, and deposits of drusen around the macula can block out light. It's not always possible to identify why some people develop this eye condition, but aging, being overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol can all increase your risk of developing macular degeneration.
Symptoms Of Macular Degeneration
You may not initially notice any problems with your vision when macular degeneration first develops, which is why it's important to have regular eye tests. Some of the earliest symptoms to look out for include blurred vision, hazy vision that causes fine lines to appear distorted and noticing you require brighter lighting to read. In time you may notice you need to be very close to someone to recognise their face.
Diagnosing And Treating Macular Degeneration
Your optometrist will examine your retina as part of a routine eye test. This is done using a magnifying device called an ophthalmoscope. They will be able to see each part of your retina and identify any areas of damage, fluid build-up or drusen deposits. In some cases, they may refer you for a procedure called fluorescein angiography to determine the extent of damage to your macula and the surrounding tissue. This is a diagnostic imaging procedure that allows enhanced images of the blood vessels around your macula to be captured.
Wet macular degeneration can be treated with laser surgery to close leaking blood vessels. Topical medication may also be prescribed to reduce the risk of further damage to the blood vessels around the macula. A special type of lens, known as a telescopic lens, can be surgically placed on your eye to treat dry macular degeneration. The lens magnifies images in your central vision, which makes it easier to read and see fine details.
The earlier macular degeneration is diagnosed, the less damage there will be to your sight. If you're having trouble with your vision, book an eye test.
For more info, contact a local company like Zacharia Naumann Optometrists.