Warning Signs of Macular Degeneration

Warning Signs of Macular Degeneration

As many as 11 million Americans could have age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a deterioration of eyesight that affects central vision. The macula is the portion of the retina that creates sharp images for your direct line of sight, those things upon which you focus most closely. When the macula starts to degrade, it becomes harder to read or recognize faces. 

Many of the symptoms of AMD are the same as less serious changes to your vision as you get older. Regular eye exams every 2-4 years after the age of 45 help identify any problems with your vision. 

Choosing macular degeneration specialists like our optometric physicians at Accent Vision Specialists in Santa Fe, New Mexico, helps to assure early detection of AMD. 

Wet versus dry

There are two types of AMD — wet and dry. Dry macular degeneration is the most common, the type that affects as many as 90% of patients with the condition. Dry macular degeneration progresses slowly and typically causes less serious damage to your vision. 

Wet macular degeneration results from blood vessel formation under the retinas that leak fluid, causing visual distortions and, potentially, more profound loss of sight. The wet type of the condition typically develops faster. Neither wet nor dry macular degeneration can be cured, but there are treatments that can limit the damage to your eyesight. 

Warning signs of macular degeneration

Despite having two forms, the symptoms of AMD are common to both. Signs that you’re developing the condition include: 

AMD doesn’t cause problems with your peripheral vision, so if you see changes to central vision that doesn’ affect your vision to the side, it could be due to macular degeneration. 

Risk factors for AMD

The causes of AMD aren’t known for either type, though getting older is the most common risk factor. Genetics play a role as well. If people in your family have wet or dry macular degeneration, you’re more likely to have the condition too. 

People of Caucasian ancestry have a statistically higher chance of developing AMD, as do those with cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol. Smoking and obesity are two lifestyle conditions that could play a role in the deterioration of your eyesight. 

About 10% of patients with dry macular degeneration will eventually develop wet macular degeneration too, leading to faster vision loss if the conditions aren’t diagnosed and treated. 

Call Accent Vision Specialists at 505-984-8989 to schedule an eye exam if you have any of the warning signs of macular degeneration, or if it’s been more than two years since your last full eye exam. It’s possible to diagnose the condition before you notice symptoms, so book today to assure the quality of your sight in the future. 

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