Retinal Images
Creative Commons License photo credit: OberazziMacular degeneration is an eye disorder associated with aging and results in damaging sharp and central vision. The central part of the retina is needed for seeing objects clearly and in fine detail for common daily tasks such as reading and driving. The causes of macular degeneration are unknown, but because it’s extremely rare in people under age 50, the condition is referred to as age-related macular degeneration.

Although there are some known risk factors for macular degeneration there is no clear cause. Research is showing there might be some genetic connection, but other factors will increase your risk. Smoking increases your chances and speeds up its progress. High cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, obesity, and a diet lacking in dark green leafy vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids are also associated with the disease. Women also seem to be at a higher risk.

The diagnosis of macular degeneration is becoming more common due to increased patient awareness, physician access, ground breaking improvements and the growth of the aging population at risk for this condition. Given the increase in diagnosis, macular degeneration is has become a formidable challenge that eye specialists are working to address in delivering treatment to those who suffer from the disease. It continues to be a very important are of research and advanced medical technology as macular degeneration is also one of the leading causes of blindness in people older than 55 years. Due to this high risk of blindness, age-related macular degeneration has become a major public-health concern.

For age-related macular degeneration, you should see an ophthalmogists or medical doctor who specialises in eye care and surgery. Your optometrist can also screen for and diagnose for macular degeneration. It is generally recommended that people older than 45 years have a complete eye examination and then do a follow up every two years. For those who have already been diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration, you should check your vision daily or weekly and promptly notify your doctor of any changes in vision. It should also be noted that because of its specialised nature, macular degeneration is handled and treated best at your ophthalmologist’s office.

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