Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is an eye disease that comes with aging. The center of your eye - the macular - slowly deteriorates, which blurs vision and causes blind spots. There are treatments for macular degeneration - but it's also possible to help prevent it with good sunglasses.

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    Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of legal blindness for people over 60 years old in the United States. More than 15 million Americans are affected by some form of macular degeneration, a progressive disease which can lead to severe vision loss in the most advanced form, end-stage age related macular degeneration. It does not cause complete blindness but destroys central vision, the straight-ahead, detailed vision needed for everyday activities such as self-care, recognizing faces, preparing food, driving and reading, to name a few.
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    The macula is a small part of the eye, in the center of the retina. It helps the retina sense light and provide sharp, central vision. If the macula becomes damaged, central vision may become blurry.

    Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can affect one or both eyes. It can cause gradual damage to the macula, and lead to slow vision changes. Or it can progress more quickly, making vision changes more noticeable. Blurry vision due to AMD can get in the way of daily life and activities, but it does not usually lead to complete vision loss. See your eye doctor regularly to detect AMD early. 
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    A Ophthalmology, answered on behalf of
    Treating age-related macular degeneration may be helpful for people who are legally blind, but it depends on their particular circumstances. Often, a person who is considered legally blind is still able to perform tasks like read large-print books and safely move about.

    Your physician can help determine if macular degeneration treatment is appropriate for your situation. The decision typically rests on how much useful central vision you still have, what your needs and goals are, how your eyes have responded to treatment in the past, and whether there are potential risks involved with treatment.

    Keep in mind that macular degeneration only affects your central vision. Whereas eye conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts affect peripheral vision. While treating those conditions may prove beneficial, they won’t repair central-vision damage caused by macular degeneration.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    To the person who fears age-related macular degeneration (AMD) but does not yet have it, I would recommend eating three green vegetables a day. If you can't, take a lutein (40 micrograms (mcg)) and zeaxanthin (400 mcg) supplement every day. I also take a twice-a-day multivitamin with vitamin C (500 milligrams (mg)) and vitamin E (400 to 800 international units (IU)) a day and with a low level of zinc (12 mg) and beta carotene (about 3 mg).

    One study showed those who had active AMD had a more than 25 percent reduction in the risk of vision loss if they took 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, 15 mg of beta carotene, 80 mg of zinc, and 2 mg of copper a day. Fifty percent also took an RDA multivitamin daily. If I had AMD or a patient who had AMD at any stage, I would be afraid of the zinc, copper, and beta carotene in these larger doses taken for a long period of time.
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    There are two primary types of age-related macular degeneration AMD:

     

    Dry AMD - This type of AMD is the most common. While its cause is unknown, it occurs as the light sensitive cells in the macula slowly deteriorate, generally occurring in one eye at a time.

     

    Wet AMD - This type of AMD is less common, but accounts for almost all severe vision loss caused by either type of AMD. Wet AMD occurs when new blood vessels behind the retina start to grow beneath the retina where they leak fluid and blood, and can create a large blind spot in the center of the visual field. If this happens, there is a marked disturbance of vision in a short period of time.

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    A Radiation Oncology, answered on behalf of

    For people over 50, age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss. About 90% of macular degeneration patients have the dry form, which is caused by deposits on the macula, an area of the retina. The wet form is caused by irregular blood vessel growth. Both of these types can cause significant vision loss, including blindness.

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Eating a healthy diet is important for eye health. In fact, a recent study showed that people over age 50 who ate at least three servings of fruit a day were less likely to develop macular degeneration than those who ate only one-and-a-half daily servings.

    I recommend taking 500 milligrams daily of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, the ultimate form of Omega-3 fatty acids in humans), to help prevent macular degeneration. Why?If you're deficient in a substance called it can delay the conductor system that converts light energy to neural energy in the retina-a process that's faster than a computer chip. There's also some evidence to suggest that Omega 3s can help improve dry eyes.

    Also, large study sponsored by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health found that people who with macular degeneration had a more than 25-percent reduction in the risk of vision loss if they took the below vitamins daily (in divided doses):

    • 500 milligrams of vitamin C
    • 400 IU of vitamin E
    • 15 milligrams of beta-carotene
    • 80 milligrams of zinc
    • 2 milligrams of copper
    The study wasn't designed to show if taking the vitamins could prevent macular degeneration in the first place. And unfortunately, taking the vitamins did not prevent dry macular degeneration from becoming wet macular degeneration.

    Lutein is also an important nutrient for eye health.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    The Cause of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
    Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is considered a disease of older people, because the damage that occurs to the macula in the eye is related to aging. The animation tells you more about AMD.


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    A Ophthalmology, answered on behalf of
    People can have a variety of symptoms with macular degeneration. Most commonly, people report blurry vision, distorted vision or haze in their vision. These changes tend to affect the central part, or one's "straight-ahead" vision, rather than the side vision.
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    Currently, only the wet form of AMD is treated. When indicated, repeated injections of tiny amounts of drug into the middle of cavity of the eye can stop abnormal blood vessel leakage, growth, and scarring. Occasionally lasers or medications injected into an arm vein and activated in the eye with a laser light are used.

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