The term “macular degeneration” refers to a group of eye diseases that cause vision loss and affect the retina, which is at the back of the eye. Macular degeneration develops slowly over time, so early detection is key to slowing the progression of this disease.
Read on as an Old Tappan, NJ optometrist discusses macular degeneration and early warning signs to watch for.
What Is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is one of the most common eye diseases and the leading cause of vision loss among older adults. It can destroy your central vision, which is crucial for reading, driving, and seeing faces.
The cause of the disease varies in each person, but it is not just a young person’s disease, as the age range of people who get macular degeneration is right between 20-80.
Many serious medical conditions can lead to macular degeneration including diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease. And to add insult to injury, many people never know they have macular degeneration until it’s too late.
Early Warning Signs of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration can be difficult to spot at first. Early signs of AMD may not be noticeable right away, but they can lead to serious vision problems later on. Symptoms tend to develop slowly, and it’s not uncommon for those affected to accommodate these gradual changes in their vision. This can make the condition even harder to detect.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s important to see your eye doctor:
- Diminished vision in particular areas (such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism)
- Vision that is getting worse over time
- Eye pain or discomfort
- Vision loss that is sudden, unexpected, and unexplained
- Flashes of light in your vision
- Color changes, such as seeing red or green spots
As with any other type of medical condition, certain risk factors can place you at increased risk of developing macular degeneration. These include:
- Age: The condition is most common in people over the age of 50.
- Family history: The risk of developing macular degeneration is increased if a close relative also has the disease.
- Race: Macular degeneration is more common in whites than in other ethnic groups.
- Eye conditions: Macular degeneration may be associated with diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal detachment.
If you have any concerns about your vision and/or eye health, schedule an appointment with an optometrist as soon as possible. And if you have more questions or wish to schedule an eye exam, feel free to call us, your local Old Tappan, NJ optometrist, anytime!