If you haven’t heard of dry macular degeneration, it’s time to learn about this common eye problem. It’s not unusual for your vision to be not what it once was, which is especially true after your 65th birthday. But, you must also understand exactly what’s happening with your eyesight. Some problems can be more serious than others. With dry macular degeneration, early intervention is key. That way, you’ll have a broader number of dry macular degeneration treatment options.
Dry Macular Degeneration: Understanding What This Eye Condition Is All About
Cause of Vision Problems with Dry Macular Degeneration
“Degeneration” refers to the breaking down of your macula. The macula of your eye is in your retina. The retina is the eye coat that is the most inward. The retina sits behind the first and second coats. The first coat contains the cornea while the second coat contains the iris. The macular part of the retina gives you clear vision when sunlight hits the eye.
Sometimes the macula thins out like what happens with dry macular degeneration. This thinning results in blurred vision in the center of one or both of your eyes. The thinning of the macula comes from aging or other factors. As the macula thins, it can actually break down, affecting your ability to have a direct line of sight.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Seniors are the most common age group to develop dry macular degeneration. Other risk factors include being overweight and being a smoker. Smoking and extra weight, as well as a history of heart disease, can also cause heart problems. Cardiovascular problems, sometimes, have a side effect of dry macular degeneration. Finally, if you have a family history of macular degeneration, you are more at risk.
Common Dry Macular Degeneration Symptoms
You may first start to experience dry macular degeneration as a feeling that you need more light to read. That difficulty with dimmer light can also be a problem as you walk into a darkened room. Colors may also seem less bright. Over time, recognizing faces might become more difficult.
This eye problem will be obvious if you have a “dot” in the center of your vision. The blocking of your central vision can happen in one or both eyes. When you try to read books or computer screens, the print will also be blurrier.
Amount of Vision Loss
Dry macular degeneration usually preserves a person’s peripheral vision–any part of your vision other than the center. People with this eye condition can still keep much of their daily function, but treatment is important to ward off further vision loss. The condition can progress to wet macular degeneration, which is the more serious of the two conditions. The wet type can lead to total vision loss.
Dry macular degeneration happens over time. This extended time frame gives you a chance to get treatment. Seeing an optometrist or ophthalmologist can head off wet macular degeneration. Eye doctors stress the importance of treatment and healthy living. In some cases, seeking help can improve dry macular degeneration. Medical care also helps prevent the wet type, which has a more rapid progression.
Dry Macular Degeneration Treatment Options
Some patients may be eligible for a special kind of surgery. This surgery implants a telescopic lens in one eye. Even if your condition isn’t suitable for an implant, you can work with a therapist. The therapist can help you learn how to function with decreased central vision. That extra help can include using a magnifying lens. Special computers and electronic reading devices are also helpful.
To preserve the rest of your sight, eating vitamin-rich foods is crucial. “Good” fats like olive oil, walnuts, and salmon are the best foods to add to your eye-health diet. High-protein, high-zinc choices like beef, lamb or pork are also good vision boosters. Perhaps you’re worried about red meat for health or ethical reasons. If so, opt for whole-grain cereals and bread, eggs, yogurt, cheese, and milk.
Cut out unhealthy habits like smoking and junk food. Exercise more often. Your eye doctor can suggest vitamin supplements high in vitamins C and E, as well as zinc, copper, and lutein.
Watch this video to learn how stem cells can help in the treatment of macular degeneration and other eye diseases:
It’s natural to put off going to the eye doctor when blurry vision happens. You might be afraid of a serious eye problem or want to dismiss it as “aging vision.” But, if you begin treating dry macular degeneration early, you can keep it from getting worse. Preserving your precious eyesight is the best gift you can give yourself and those who depend upon you.
Do you know someone with dry macular degeneration? What medications did he/she take? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Up Next: Natural Eye Drops For Dry Eyes