Macular Degeneration | Triggers and Treatments

  • Posted on: Mar 29 2013
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Macular DegenerationMacular degeneration is a condition in which the macula, the small area of the retina responsible for central vision, begins to deteriorate. While it’s not linked to pain and isn’t life-threatening, macular degeneration can greatly affect your quality of life. In order to help treat or avoid this degenerative condition, it’s important to know what its triggers are, and how we can treat it.

Causes and Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

There are two forms in which macular degeneration can manifest. Dry macular degeneration is the most common form, affecting roughly 90% of all patients with the condition. In dry cases, the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly begin to break down, causing blurriness in our central vision.

The second type of macular degeneration is the wet form, in which blood vessels begin to grow behind the retina, under the macula. The fragile nature of these new and abnormal blood vessels causes them to sometimes leak fluid and blood, damaging the macula. While the exact cause of macular degeneration is currently unknown, this condition is often associated with aging. Its prevalence is mainly reported in men over the age of 65, so it’s likely that its onset may be due to tissue thinning in the macula over time.

Symptoms of macular degeneration tend to develop gradually and can include an increase in blurriness of words, a blind spot in your vision, difficulty adapting to low levels of light, and a need for brighter lighting when doing detailed work. You may also have a hard time recognizing faces, and might notice an overall increase in the haziness of your vision. If any of these symptoms begin to present themselves, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

Macular Degeneration Treatments

While there isn’t a simple cure for macular degeneration, there are some ways to try and slow its progress. Anti-angiogenic drugs, injected into the eye, may help in cases of wet degeneration, while a combination of antioxidants and zinc has been shown to have some impact on the progression of dry degeneration. Certain types of laser surgery may prove helpful as well, but these options should be discussed with your doctor. It can also be helpful to change your diet to include more fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy fats. If you smoke, are obese, or have an unhealthy diet, you may be at an increased risk for macular degeneration, so it’s important that you stick to healthy habits.

Macular Degeneration Treatment in Southern California

To learn more about macular degeneration and its treatment, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Our offices are located in Lynwood, Downey, La Habra and Whittier.  We look forward to serving you.

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