Understanding Macular Degeneration

As you age, it’s important to be aware of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration most typically affects older folks, although there are rare instances when younger people are impacted. The most common kind is called age-related macular degeneration since it occurs in older adults. Understanding this condition is crucial for early detection and management of macular degeneration in Falls Church, VA.

Two Types of Age-related Macular Degeneration

The macula is a small but crucial part of the retina, which is the light-sensitive layer of tissue located at the back of the inner eye. It’s primarily responsible for central vision and color perception. Changes in these two areas of vision are often symptoms of the onset of age-related macular degeneration, or AMD.

The two types of AMD are wet and dry:

Dry Macular Degeneration – This form is more common and occurs when the macula thins over time, gradually blurring central vision. It’s characterized by the presence of drusen, which are tiny yellow deposits under the retina.

Wet Macular Degeneration – Less common but more severe, this type happens when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and leak fluid or blood, damaging the macula.

Why Does AMD Occur?

There are many reasons why AMD occurs. One is that it is simply a part of the aging process. Like other body parts, the macula ages, as well. A natural deterioration occurs, which is why this condition mainly affects older persons.

Another reason has to do with genetics. If you have a family member with AMD, your risk is higher and you’ll also develop the condition.

If you want to learn how to prevent AMD, you should be aware of lifestyle factors. Excess alcohol consumption, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, and poor nutrition all increase your risk for AMD.

When you visit your optometrist in Falls Church, VA, we will check for signs of AMD. Contact us today for your next eye exam appointment.

What Causes Macular Degeneration?

For persons aged 50 and older, age-related macular degeneration is the most common reason for serious loss of eyesight. While age-related macular degeneration may not cause total blindness, it does cause enough lack of vision to inhibit the ability to perform some daily tasks. This disease affects the center of vision and is not only uncomfortable but can also lead to a loss of quality of life, as certain activities will be hindered or have to be stopped entirely.

How Macular Degeneration Reduces Quality of Life

Those with macular degeneration in Falls Church, VA, and other areas report that the disease prevents them from doing things they may have enjoyed in the past. Because of the way that macular degeneration affects eyesight in the center of the field of vision, people may be unable to read, see faces, drive, or simply navigate their way around their own house. Unfortunately, when macular degeneration begins, there may be no outward signs. So, without an eye exam, people may unknowingly have macular degeneration.

Risk Factors For Macular Degeneration?

Certain risk factors make it more likely that a person may develop macular degeneration. These include:

  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Tobacco use of all kinds, including smoking, vaping, and chewing
  • Underlying disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, and high blood pressure
  • Being over the age of 50
  • Obesity
  • Poor nutrition

While these risks factors contribute to a higher chance of developing macular degeneration, the actual cause of this disease is unknown. Some people may have one or more of the risks mentioned above factors and never develop macular degeneration.

Regular eye exams in Falls Church are essential, but especially so if you have any of the risk factors mentioned above. The sooner that macular degeneration is diagnosed, the more vision may be saved. Contact us to book your appointment today.