Questions about Macular Degeneration?

What are the risk factors for developing Macular Degeneration?

Age is the leading risk factor. In fact, the chance for Macular Degeneration increases with each passing decade after age 50, with 30 percent of people over age 70 exhibiting some sign of the disease. There are genetic and environmental risk factors as well, such as, smoking, light eye color, obesity, high blood pressure and family history.

What are the forms of Macular Degeneration?

There are two forms of Macular Degeneration: dry and wet. Either form can advance and cause severe vision loss. The dry form is the most common and accounts for 85-90% of the cases. Dry macular degeneration happens when the light-sensitive cells in the back of the retina (macula) slowly break down making vision blurred. The wet form is more advanced and happens when new blood vessels under the macula leak blood and fluid.

What are the symptoms?

Most patients with dry macular degeneration will not notice any sudden change in their central vision, but may notice a gradual decrease over many months or years. This decline is often accompanied by blank spots that slowly develop in and around the central vision. The most common symptom of wet macular degeneration is the sudden onset of blurred or distorted central vision that may occur over several days or weeks.

How is Macular Degeneration Is Treated?

There is no cure for macular degeneration, but diagnosis and early treatment may delay its progression or even improve vision. The type of treatment depends on the stage of the disease whether early, dry or wet. Medications, nutritional supplementation and laser technology may be used subject to the severity of the disease.