Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is commonly seen in individuals above 60, says Dr. Kevin Niksarli.  Macular degeneration is also known as age related macular degeneration (ARMD). Macula which is a central part of retina is affected. Individual tend to have impaired vision due to macular degeneration. The person is not fully blind in the disease but some visual disability is noted.

There are many forms of ARMD, but most common is due to age, says LASIK surgeon Dr. Kevin Niksarli. Many aged people above 60 suffer from legal blindness due to macular degeneration. ARMD can be classified in to two types:

•    Wet form of macular degeneration
•    Dry form of macular degeneration

Both the forms can occur at the same time. It can occur in one eye or both the eyes simultaneously. It is very common that the individual suffering from dry form of macular degeneration develops wet form later. The occurrence of ARMD may vary. Sometimes the onset of disease is so slow that the patient might be suffering from it since many years without any knowledge. Similarly, sometimes the onset is so rapid, that there will be vision change overnight.

The most common sign, on the basis of the symptoms experienced by the patients, is distorted vision which is acute and prolonged. The straight lines appear wavy. Hence, the first symptoms are some areas of vision might be missing or distorted form of vision. If an individual experience such signs, the patient must consult the ophthalmologist immediately.

Macular degeneration does not cause total blindness. But it causes hazy and distorted vision. Macular degeneration causes loss of central sharp vision which is necessary for reading, driving, watching movies and television, in short inability to do any fine or detailed work. The peripheral vision remains intact and you are able to see from the side of the retina.

The dry from of macular degeneration is caused by thinning and breaking of the retinal pigment cell of epithelium abbreviated as RPE. Yellow deposits called as drusen is seen on the macula. This causes the dimming or distortion of the vision. This is more clearly experienced while reading. The RPE cells are light sensitive cells called as photoreceptors. In severe cases of dry form of macular degeneration, these RPE cells die causing a condition known as atrophy. In such cases the defect is called as atrophic ARMD.

The wet form of macular degeneration is caused by leakage of blood vessels and fluid enters the retina and distorts the vision. This condition is more severe as it affects 90% of vision loss. There is unnatural growth of blood vessels behind the macula, known as choroidal neovascularization. This condition eventually leads to scaring and there is loss of vision in central of retina, which is permanent. Learn about other eye care topics such as diabetic retinopathy or pink eye.

The cause of age related macular degeneration is not known, but for other causes you can avoid certain risk factors that can cause the condition.

•    Smoking
•    Dieting
•    Harmful exposure to sunlight
•    High blood pressure

Few modifications in lifestyle can avoid such conditions and also will prevent the progression. If you are interested in laser vision correction contact Manhattan LASIK Center.

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