What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular Degeneration is a chronic, progressive eye disease that affects the central retina or macula.
Also known as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), macular degeneration is a disease associated with aging that gradually destroys sharp, central vision. AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. AMD causes no pain.
Macular Degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 50 years of age and older. In some cases, macular degeneration advances so slowly that people do not notice the change in their vision. For other people, macular degeneration progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in both eyes.
Quick facts about Macular Degeneration:
- Leading cause of acquired legal blindness and visual impairment among people over the age of 50 in North America and other Western industrialized societies.
- More than 15 million Macular Degeneration patients in North America.
- 1.5 million new cases each year.
- Center for Disease Control in the United States predicts 30 million cases by 2020.
- More people will go blind due to Macular Degeneration than cataracts and glaucoma combined.
VISION WITH MACULAR DEGENERATION.
As macular degeneration develops, clear, normal vision (shown left) becomes impaired by a general haziness. With advanced macular degeneration, a blind spot forms at the center of your visual field (shown right).
If you notice changes to your vision in the following areas you should speak with your doctor particularly if you are older than 50.
- You now have a blurred or blind spot in the center of your field of vision
- You require more light when reading
- You find it difficult to adapt to low lit areas
- Printed words become slightly blurry
- Colors do not seem as bright
- Sometime you have difficulty recognizing faces
- Your overall vision is becoming hazy
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help you with a great deal of health issues, including reducing your risk of developing macular degeneration.