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What are the Symptoms and Causes of Macular Degeneration?

General

Dr Karan Bhatia
Dr Karan Bhatia
4 min read

Rays of light enter the eye, and then the cornea bends them in such a manner that they focus on the retina, which is the light-sensitive part of the eye that is placed in the back. Retina captures the image like a camera film and transferring that information to the brain via the optic nerve for brains understanding.

The central part of the retina measures around 5 mm in diameter and is known as the macula. It is this part of the retina that is involved in vision while the rest of retina is concerned with peripheral vision.

In this blog, we take a look at Macular Degeneration, which is the leading cause of severe and irreversible vision loss in people over the age of 60.

What is Macular Degeneration?

  • Macular Degeneration is a vision impairment in which the macula starts to deteriorate. As the macula plays a vital role in vision, its deterioration translates directly to the deterioration of vision.
  • IIt is often called age-related Macular Degeneration as the vision impairment progresses as the patient ages. Fortunately, macular Degeneration rarely leads to total blindness, but it can cause severe vision loss.
  • There are usually two forms of macular degeneration:
    • Dry Form
      Dry form macular Degeneration can be identified with the presence of drusen, which are yellow deposits which can cause vision impairment as they increase in number and start growing big. More advanced stages of the dry form of macular Degeneration can lead to atrophy, which is also known as tissue death.
    • Wet Form
      In the wet form of Macular Degeneration, there is a growth of abnormal blood vessels from the choroid which is placed under the macula. These blood vessels end up leaking blood and fluid in the retina, which leads to loss of vision.

Causes of Macular Degeneration

What exactly causes macular degeneration is not yet known. However, research suggests that the causes may be related to hereditary and lifestyle factors such as smoking and diet.

Here are some risk factors for Macular degeneration:

  • Macular degeneration is most common in people over the age of 50.
  • There is a genetic component at play, and the vision disorder may be hereditary.
  • Smoking cigarettes or being regularly exposed to smoke.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Obesity.

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
Symptoms and Causes of Macular Degeneration

Here are some of the symptoms of Macular Degeneration:

  • Distortion in visuals such as straight lines seeming bent.
  • Loss of central vision in one eye or the other.
  • Needing brighter light when reading or doing some work that requires focus on close objects.
  • Difficulty in vision adapting to low light.
  • Problems in reading.
  • Difficulties in recognizing faces.

Consult Your Ophthalmologist

When it comes to eye care, being early is always the best. If you or someone you know suffers from the symptoms listed above, you should consult with your ophthalmologist. Regular eye examinations are the best way to take care of your eyes.