What is Macular Degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an issue with your retina. When you have AMD, you lose your central vision. It is caused when the macula, a part of your retina, is damaged. While you will be unable to see fine details, whether you are looking at something close or far, your peripheral (side) vision will be normal. There are two types of macular degeneration: Dry AMD and Wet AMD.
Let’s focus on dry macular degeneration. Dry AMD is when parts of your macula (the macula is an oval-shaped area near the center of your retina) get thinner as you age, and tiny clumps of protein (called drusen) grow, causing you to slowly lose your central vision.
Some symptoms may include visual distortions, reduced central vision and difficulty in low-light situations. Dry AMD can affects both eyes, though if only one eye is compromised, you may notice vision disruptions as your good eye is overcompensating for the other. Vision is lost slowly, but since it does not affect your peripheral vision, typically you do not go completely blind.
Dry AMD is more common than Wet AMD, which causes more sudden changes in vision because the blood vessels that grow under the retina leak. You are also at more risk of significant vision loss with Wet AMD than dry.
Dry AMD has unknown causes, but research suggests that it may be related to a combination of environmental factors such as diet, and heredity. Some risk factors include genetics, smoking, being overweight and race. It is more common in Caucasians. To prevent Dry AMD, managing any other medical conditions is beneficial. Maintaining a healthy weight by eating antioxidant rich vegetables and fruit and omega-3 fatty fish and/or nuts can be helpful to reduce your risk. Not smoking – smokers are at a much higher risk. You cannot reverse Dry AMD, so managing your health is your best defense.
If you are experiencing symptoms, or have concerns about your vision, please contact one of our Retina specialist here at Oregon Eye Consulants. https://oregoneyeconsultants.com/
Our retina specialists here at Oregon Eye Consultants are Dr. John Karth, MD, Dr. Robert Beardsley, MD, and Dr. Allan Hunter, MD. They are the leaders in retinal care, and see patients not only in our Eugene clinic, but also at our Springfield, Roseburg, Florence, North Bend, and Newport locations.