Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a medical condition that involves the eye in which the central part of theretine gradually deteriorates. It is the main cause of blindness among elderly people leaving in Western countries and a major cause of legal blindness in the United States.

In this disease the lost portion is the highly detailed, central part of the visual field. Such loss occurs because of the light detectors in the center of the retina (macula) which are responsible for processing light from the center of the visual field. As a result, central vision fades, making tasks such as driving or reading difficult. In about 90% of individuals with macular degeneration, the problem may attribute to the atrophy of the macula alone.

Macular degeneration often occurs in elder people and is more likely to develop in women than in men. Other people who are at high risk to develop macular degeneration are those who smoke, and individuals with a family history of the disease. The major symptoms of macular degeneration are the loss of central vision. In the beginning, however, symptoms are typically lines or irregular patches of dimness running across the visual field. Individuals who have any symptoms of macular degeneration need to be evaluated by an ophthalmologist. If symptoms of this disease are found in time, this condition is treatable.

People with this disease should change lifestyle to make life with limited vision more livable. These include: finding large-type reading materials, reading with special high-magnification lenses, and increasing the level of brightness in rooms. One study showed that adding zinc supplements to the diet may be helpful as well. There are no guarantees that you can prevent macular degeneration. Regular eye examination is very important in order to detect this disease in its early stages. To reduce the risks of macula degeneration, you should wear sunglasses which absorb ultraviolet light.

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