What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in people ages 60 and over. It occurs when the central portion of the retina, called the macula, begins to deteriorate.

There are two kinds of macular degeneration:

  • Dry- the center of the retina deteriorates. About 85-90% of cases are cause by dry macular degeneration.
  • Wet- leaky blood vessels grow under the retina. About 10-15% pf cases are caused by wet macular degeneration.

It is thought that combinations of generic and environmental factors are involved in the cause of macular degeneration, but it is not conclusively known.

Because the cause is not known, there is also no cure. But there are ways to reduce your risk of developing the disease:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Quit smoking. Smoking doubles the risk of developing macular degeneration
  • Protect your eyes from UV rays

There are also treatment options:

  • Laser therapy or surgery, which removes blood vessels and controls bleeding.
  • Vitamins and minerals in the AREDS formula, which is specially formulated to reduce disease progression.
  • Anti-angiogenic drugs, which are injected into the eye to block the development of new blood vessels and to stop the leakage caused by wet macular degeneration.

If you notice that there is something wrong with your vision, make sure to consult your optometrist or ophthalmologist.

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