What You Need to Know to Protect Your Vision Health
Macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness, affecting millions of Americans. But there's a lot you can do to prevent or slow macular degeneration and preserve your vision.
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about macular degeneration.
What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a condition that affects the macula, the small central area of the retina that's responsible for sharp, clear vision. Macular degeneration makes it difficult to see fine details and can cause a loss of central vision.
What Are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?
In the early stages of macular degeneration, you may not notice any changes in your vision. But as the condition progresses, you may have difficulty reading or doing other tasks that require fine, central vision. You may also see a dark or empty area in the center of your vision.
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration occurs when the small central portion of the retina, the macula, deteriorates. The exact cause is unknown, but it's believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
How Is Macular Degeneration Diagnosed?
Macular degeneration is usually diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. During the exam, your eye doctor will evaluate your vision and check for signs of macular degeneration.
How Is Macular Degeneration Treated?
There's no cure for macular degeneration, but there are treatments that can help slow the progression of the disease and preserve your vision. Studies have shown that taking AREDS and AREDS2 supplements can slow the progression of intermediate to advanced macular degeneration by 25%. That’s why early detection and treatment are critical to your vision.
Can Macular Degeneration Be Prevented?
There's no sure way to prevent macular degeneration, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk. These include eating a healthy diet, taking AREDS/AREDS2 supplements, exercising regularly, and not smoking. You should also have regular comprehensive eye exams to check for signs of macular degeneration.
Do You Always Go Blind with Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration rarely leads to complete blindness. But it can cause severe vision loss and make everyday activities, such as reading and driving, difficult or impossible. If you have macular degeneration, you must have regular eye exams so your doctor can monitor your condition and provide treatment if necessary.
What Are the Early Warning Signs of Macular Degeneration?
The early stages of macular degeneration usually don't cause symptoms. But there are some early warning signs that you may be at risk for the disease. These include difficulty seeing at night, trouble adjusting to dim lighting, and difficulty reading or doing other tasks that require good vision. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor for a comprehensive eye exam.
What Should I Do if I Think I Have Macular Degeneration?
If you think you might have macular degeneration, you should see your doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. Early detection and treatment are essential to preserving vision because there are steps you can take to slow the progression. Additionally, changing habits like diet, exercise, and quitting smoking can help reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration.
Your Trusted Vision Experts
At Key-Whitman Eye Center, we're committed to providing you with the best possible vision care. We offer comprehensive eye exams, state-of-the-art treatments, and personalized care. We have experience diagnosing and helping patients with macular degeneration. Don’t put off your comprehensive eye exam because it gives you the advantage of early detection and treatment. We’re dedicated to helping you preserve your vision and maintain your quality of life. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.