Macular degeneration is an eye disease that causes the macula (the main area in the retina) to deteriorate. This disease is most often related to aging.
Dry macular degeneration is the most common kind of macular degeneration. This type of macular degeneration makes up around 85 to 90 percent of all cases. In dry macular degeneration, waste products that come from metabolism grow beneath and around the retina. This buildup causes blurry vision or spotty vision. Dry macular degeneration sometimes turns into wet macular degeneration.
Wet macular degeneration is the more severe form of macular degeneration. It is often preceded by dry macular degeneration. This type of macular degeneration develops when the Bruch's membrane starts to deteriorate. New blood vessels develop in that area, but the blood vessels are highly delicate. This frequently causes the leaking of fluids and blood. This, in turn, causes the macula to scar severely and may result in loss of vision. Wet macular degeneration accounts for a large majority of all cases of legal blindness today.
Possible symptoms of macular degeneration include an increased need for light while reading, blurry spots in the middle of the field of vision, distortions causing straight lines to look wavy, and distortion of any kind in straight-ahead vision.
The treatment for macular degeneration depends on the specific type of macular degeneration. Dry macular degeneration has no specific treatments, but there may be ways to delay the progression of the disease before it becomes wet macular degeneration. This may include the use of vitamins and antioxidants such as lutein. In wet macular degeneration, laser surgery is a common therapy. Injectable medications may also be able to stop the progression of the disease and help preserve the vision.
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