Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), or simply macular degeneration, is an eye disease common in the elderly. It affects the macula, which is part of the retina. It affects your central vision, and this can interfere with tasks such as reading or any function requiring you to focus on fine details. AMD doesn’t affect peripheral vision.
Dry macular degeneration is more common than wet macular degeneration. So, which is worse, dry or wet macular degeneration? The wet type of AMD is more severe as it is caused by leaked blood or fluids in the macula. It often begins as the dry AMD. Early detection is the key to delay or prevent vision loss that can occur from both dry and wet macular degeneration. There are more chances of vision loss in cases of wet AMD.
Early Signs of Macular Degeneration
One of the earliest signs of macular degeneration is sudden change in your vision. You may see straight lines as distorted. General blurred vision is another early sign of AMD.
Reduced ability to recognize faces and loss of central vision are also common in the early stages of AMD. You may also find it difficult to adjust your eyes to different levels of brightness. Your vision will be hazy and you may also see less brightness on colors.
If your vision is suddenly blurry or distorted, consider it a warning sign to see a doctor without delay. Symptoms of AMD usually appear gradually. You will also experience no pain. In rare cases, the vision loss will be sudden and it is usually in the case of wet AMD.
Treatment for Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration treatment is possible in some cases when detected early but only in the case of the wet type.
For wet AMD, the doctor may prescribe medicines to hinder blood vessel growth causing the symptoms. The medicines are injected directly into the eyes. Laser therapy is also used to destroy disease-causing blood vessels. Photodynamic therapy can also be used to treat wet AMD. The treatment involves injecting a medicine in the arm vein that leads to the eyes. Laser beams are focused on the blood vessels to activate the medicine and stop blood from leaking into the macula.
Currently, no treatment exists for dry AMD. You can only delay its progression with a healthy lifestyle when detected early.
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Preventing Macular Degeneration
Wet macular degeneration prognosis is generally not good. But you can delay vision loss with timely treatment. Dry AMD progresses slower than the wet type. So, you have more time to use measures to delay vision loss.
Quitting smoking is imperative to delay AMD progression. Eating a diet rich in leafy greens, low-fat dairy, wholegrain cereals and breads can provide you with zinc, and certain antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein that can help delay vision loss. Try to consume more olive oil and walnuts for a healthy dose of omega-3s. Certain blood pressure medicines can also affect eye health. So, discuss your drug options with your doctor.
You can also learn to do simple exercises to strengthen the muscles of the eyes. Looking left to right in succession and rotating eyes in circular motions are helpful exercises that you can include in your daily routine. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important for good eye health.
Regular eye exams can help the doctor identify your condition in time to delay any vision loss. Regular eye exams must ideally begin at 40 to ensure that you can prevent conditions such as AMD in the future.
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