Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a common, painless eye condition in which the central portion of the retina deteriorates and does not function adequately. The macula is a small portion of the retina located in the central portion of the retina. The macula is responsible for central vision (straight-ahead vision) and provides the ability to see fine detail in your direct line of sight. The disease occurs most commonly in those over 60 years of age, when it is termed age-related macular degeneration (AMD). There are two types of AMD: “dry”, which is the most common and “wet” type. An early symptom of wet AMD is that straight lines appear wavy, because newly formed blood vessels leak fluid under the macula. The fluid raises the macula from its normal place at the back of the eye and distorts vision. Another sign of wet AMD is rapid loss of central vision, whereas in dry AMD the loss happens slowly. In both types, a blind spot may be noticed. If any of these vision changes are noticed, an ophthalmologist should be consulted. For dry AMD, a combination of vitamins, antioxidants and zinc may prevent the disease from getting worse if it is not yet severe. Once it is advanced, no treatment can restore lost vision. For wet AMD, treatment may include: laser surgery to destroy the leaking, abnormal blood vessels; photodynamic therapy, in which light activates a drug that is injected into your body to destroy leaking blood vessels; and medications that prevent new blood vessels from forming in the eye. Special lenses can help you use the vision that you have more effectively.

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