Macular degeneration


Macular degeneration as a term describes various pathological changes that affect the macula /part of the retina of the eye/ and therefore central vision.< /p>

It represents what a person sees directly in front of him, not what he sees to the side /peripheral vision/.

The disease develops when damage or atrophy of part of the retina begins.

It is the inner layer of the eye, consisting of receptor nerves that capture and transmit light signals from the eye to the optic nerve and then to the brain, which interprets the light signal to create the image.

The macula is the central part of the retina and provides the detail and color vision we use to read, to thread a thin needle’s eye, to sign a document or recognize faces.

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 55.

As the life expectancy of the population continues to increase, the disease is gradually becoming a major public and health problem.

There are two forms of macular degeneration:

• Dry /atrophic/ – in this type results in the gradual destruction of the cells in the macula, which leads to a gradual blurring of central vision.
• Wet /exudative or neovascular/ – abnormal growth of blood vessels is observed in the center of the retina, which can injure it and impair or completely damage central vision. The wet form affects only 15% of people who acquire the disease.

What are the symptoms?

• Blurred or reduced central vision at close distances, which in most cases is ignored by those affected. Although it is at such an early stage that the degeneration process can be stopped.
• Blind spots are a direct result of the lost function of the macula;
• Straight lines of objects appear irregular or bent and objects are seen in a different color and shape in each eye;
• Objects in one eye appear smaller than in the other. This condition is most often caused by swelling and bulging of the macula, which causes the distance between the individual photoreceptors to increase, which in turn causes the brain to perceive the object as smaller in the healthy eye.

What are the causes?

The etiology or cause of the disease is not clear. It may be due to a hereditary burden, but environmental factors can also contribute to triggering the degeneration.

Some of the following risk factors have been identified as predisposing to age-related macular degeneration:

• Age – the probability of developing the disease increases with age;
• Race – it happens more often in white people;
• Pigmentation – it develops more often in people with more poor pigmentation;
• Gender – in women the risk is higher;
• Smoking – well studied as a risk factor for the development of macular degeneration.

Treatment of macular degeneration

• Smoking cessation is recommended for everyone to prevent or slow the progression of the disease. This is also important for other eye diseases such as dry eye syndrome, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma;
• A nationally representative study in the US found that dietary supplements containing high doses of antioxidants and zinc provided preservation of visual acuity and slowing down or stopping the progression of the disease;

People whose degeneration is irreversibly advanced can use various low vision devices such as:

• Specially designed glasses with telescopes that allow distance vision;
• Talking clocks;
• Computer programs that speak or use large print;
• Reading magnifiers such as also offer hands free models.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button