Protect Your Vision From the Effects of Macular Degeneration
As we get older our central vision may become blurry, shadowy, or start to develop blank spots. In fact, macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness and vision loss for Americans over the age of 65. The macula is the central part of the retina - the tissue that is responsible for transforming light signals into nerve impulses that the brain can process as perceptible images. When the macula deteriorates or becomes damaged, central vision is often compromised. Dr. Sonny Goel treats all forms of macular degeneration at his Baltimore-area locations. If you are experiencing vision loss or are concerned because macular degeneration runs in you family, please contact our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Goel.
Age-related Vision Loss
When the macula begins to deteriorate as we age, our central field of vision may be compromised in a number of ways. Patients may experience blurring, dark or blind spots, or straight lines may appear curved or crooked. Over time, these visual errors may grow larger and objects may not appear as bright as they once did. Macular degeneration is a progressive disease that gradually destroys central vision and left untreated, it can critically affect your sight. Although macular degeneration does not lead to total blindness, it may progress to a point where patients are no longer able to see faces, drive a car, or read a book.
Causes of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration commonly affects the eyes of individuals over the age of 55 but the underlying cause is unknown. What is known however, is that certain environmental factors, lifestyle habits, and your family's genetics can play a role:
- Age - This condition is also referred to as age-related macular degeneration, and age is the most prominent risk factor.
- Race - Caucasians are at a greater risk of developing macular degeneration than other races.
- Family History - Patients with a family history of macular degeneration are more likely to develop the condition.
- Cholesterol Levels - Patients with high levels of cholesterol have a higher risk of developing neovascular, or wet, macular degeneration than patients with normal cholesterol levels. This type only affects about 10% of macular degeneration patients, but can be especially detrimental to your eyesight.
Preventive Measures and Treatment
The best treatment for macular degeneration is to practice preventive measures. The condition occurs less frequently in generally healthy people who exercise regularly, avoid smoking, and eat a nutritious diet with plenty of leafy green vegetables and fish. Patients who are already experiencing early stage symptoms are often recommended to adopt some of these habits.
For cases that have advanced past the beginning stages of macular degeneration, patients are often advised to take nutritional supplements consisting of beta-carotene, lutein, zinc oxide, and vitamins C and E. These supplements are thought to delay the onset of late-stage macular degeneration. For patients with the wet form of macular degeneration, drug injections and laser surgery are often employed to control the progression of the disease.
Contact Our Office
If you are experiencing vision problems are have been diagnosed with macular degeneration and would like to learn more about your treatment options, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Goel.