Macular degeneration is an eye disease that can cause considerable damage to your sight before the first symptoms are detected. However, if detected early, the condition can be slowed down. At Capital Eye Medical Group, serving Roseville and Grass Valley, CA, we can answer your questions about macular degeneration.
What Is Macular Degeneration?
The macula is the most sensitive part of your retina, located at the center of your eye. Age-related macular degeneration is a painless, irreversible condition that destroys light receptors in the center of the retina and gradually extends outward to the periphery of the field of vision.
About 3 million people in the United States have macular degeneration. It's the third leading cause of blindness in the United States.
Who Is at Risk for Macular Degeneration?
In some cases, macular degeneration is a side effect of certain medications, such as hydroxychloroquine, or working with pesticides. Most of the people who develop age-related macular degeneration are people who have a family history of the disease, people over 65, and some smokers. The condition tends to show up earlier in people of African descent.
What Are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?
If you are in the early stages of macular degeneration, you may notice that images don't quite look right. There is distortion, but it's not nearsightedness or farsightedness. As the condition progresses, you may start seeing hallucinations, even though you are psychologically healthy. Your brain compensates for missing inputs from your eyes by creating clear images of things that aren't there. As the condition progresses, there can be blindness that starts in the center of vision and extends out.
Can I Prevent Macular Degeneration?
While the disease cannot be entirely prevented, there are several things you can do to lower your risk. It’s important to get enough zinc and other trace minerals and beta-carotene in your diet or from supplements to slow the progression of the disease. Quitting smoking will also help. There are also treatments and eye surgeries our eye doctor can give you that slow down the disease, but nothing can bring back your sight once it's gone. That's why it's important to get an eye exam with our ophthalmologist every year.
Schedule Your Eye Appointment
Preventative care is very important in lowering your risk of macular degeneration. Early detection will also help slow down the disease. At Capital Eye Medical Group, serving Roseville and Grass Valley, CA, we can help. With routine eye exams, we can monitor your eyes for macular degeneration and other conditions. Our eye doctor has years of experience in ophthalmology and can create a personalized treatment plan for you. We are happy to answer any questions you have about macular degeneration or your eye health. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call us today.