More than 11 million people in the United States have some form of macular degeneration. This is a serious and potentially blinding eye condition that primarily affects people over the age of 60. What, exactly, is it? What are the warning signs? And can it be treated by our eye clinic in Langley? Let’s take a closer look at macular degeneration.
What Is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration affects a part of the eye known as the macula. The macula is a visible area of the retina in the back of your eye that’s responsible for your sharpest vision. This area allows you to see objects that are straight ahead of you. The loss of the macula can inhibit your ability to do activities such as read or drive your car, although you may still retain some of your peripheral vision. Macular degeneration is the deterioration of this area of the retina.
What Causes It?
No one really knows what causes macular degeneration, but there are some factors that can make you more at risk. Age is the biggest risk factor; people over the age of 60 are at the highest risk and will want to be screened for the condition when they visit our eye clinic in Langley. Smoking doubles your risk of developing macular degeneration. You may be at higher risk if the condition runs in your family, too.
What Are the Warning Signs?
People who develop macular degeneration don’t experience pain; this is a pain-free eye condition. They may, however, experience unusual symptoms with their sight. This includes text appearing blurry when you look at it or images being distorted in the center when you view them. Lines might appear to be wavy or blurred in the center of your vision. It can take time for the symptoms of macular degeneration to develop, so you might not notice it for years.
What Are the Treatment Options?
At this time, there is no cure for macular degeneration. Thankfully, though, there are a number of options that can slow the progress of macular degeneration in your eyes and help you retain your eyesight for longer. These options include:
- Injections of anti-angiogenic drugs. These are injected directly into the eye and block leakage of the blood vessels in the eyes.
- Laser therapy. There are two kinds of laser therapy used in the treatment of macular degeneration: high-energy lasers and photodynamic lasers. Both of these treatments also target abnormal blood vessels in the eyes.
- Vitamin therapy. There is a great deal of evidence that increasing your intake of certain vitamins can help slow the progress of macular degeneration. A doctor can discuss what vitamin combination could be best for you.
Come in for a Macular Degeneration Screening in Langley
If you are over the age of 60, it’s important that you come in for an annual eye exam at our eye clinic in Langley. We perform screenings for macular degeneration as a routine part of our eye exam, so we can help you catch the condition as early as possible. The earlier it’s caught, the more you can do to prevent it from getting worse. Make an appointment with our office today.