LiveMD talks about age related Macular Degeneration and how to keep your eyes healthy as you get older
What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a condition that affects your eyes and vision and begins to occur as you age. It affects over 23 million people around the world and is the fourth most common cause of blindness. This disease is usually found in older adults and occurs when a part of the retina in the eye begins to deteriorate.
What are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?
Often, in the early stages of this disease there are very few symptoms and without regular check-ups, it may go undetected for many years. Once symptoms begin to appear, they may present as a blurring or gradual loss of the central area of vision. Straight lines may be distorted and objects directly in front of you become dark, blurry or white. The peripheral vision can still remain clear but the distortion of central vision may mean that it is difficult to identify faces and makes daily activities like driving, impossible to do.
How is Macular Degeneration Diagnosed?
Regular visits to an ophthalmologist are recommended for all adults over the age of 45. These visits should occur every 2 years to check for any changes in vision or physical deterioration of the retina. It is also important to see a doctor if you notice any changes in your vision.
Can Macular Degeneration be Treated?
Although there is no cure for macular degeneration, there are treatment options available that can help to slow down the progression of the disease. Some studies have been done on taking certain vitamins, like vitamin C, beta carotene, zinc and copper. These studies have shown positive results and a slight decrease in the progression of vision loss. Other treatment options include injections into the eye and laser therapy, both of which help to preserve your current vision and help to keep it from getting worse.
Can Macular Degeneration be Prevented?
Although this disease cannot be completely prevented, you can reduce your risk factors by following some simple lifestyle changes and taking good care of your eyes throughout your life. Routine check-ups with your family doctor and an ophthalmologist will allow you to identify any changes to your vision or the health of your eyes early on and will help to decrease the rate of progression if any disease is detected. Eating a healthy diet, rich in vitamins and minerals, will give your body (and your eyes) all of the nutrients needed for good health and quitting smoking is also important as cigarettes can almost double your chances of suffering from macular degeneration.
If you have concerns about the health of your eyes, are experiencing vision problems or have questions about macular degeneration, LiveMD would like to help. Our physicians and ophthalmologists have all of the answers that you need and can assist you in right over the phone, by text message, online through live, video chat r in-person. Book an appointment today and start seeing better tomorrow.
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