Age Related Macular Degeneration: What Is It?
Age related macular degeneration is a medical condition, which primarily has an effect on older adults. This condition usually results in the loss of vision. It is different from other vision altering conditions because it causes loss in the center of the visual field. This area is called the macula and the loss of vision is caused by retina damage. There are forms: dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration. It normally affects individuals who are over the fifty years of age.
Because of the type of vision loss that happens with this type of macular degeneration the central vision is lost making it hard to read, recognize people, or even places. However, peripheral vision usually remains allowing for the ability to handle routine daily tasks. What causes macular degeneration? The dry version of age related macular degeneration also called nonexudative is caused by the buildup of debris between the area of the eye called the choroid and the area called the retina. In the dry form this debris is called Drusen and can cause the retina to become detached, which causes the symptoms of blindness.
The wet or exudative form of age related macular degeneration is usually caused by blood vessels that grow behind the retina. These grow from the choroid. This form of age related macular degeneration can be treated with both medication and laser coagulation. This treatment can possibly stop or in some cases reverse the growth of the blood vessels causing this condition.
Signs of age related macular degeneration include yellow deposits appearing in the macula. These yellow deposits are what make up the Drusen. The majority of people who are in the pre or early stages are not going to notice significant differences in their eyesight. It only becomes noticeable as the condition worsens and the deposits increase. These yellow deposits may actually be cholesterol though this is unconfirmed scientifically and possibly may respond to the effects of cholesterol lowering treatments.
For those that are experiencing the exudative form of age related macular degeneration also known Neovascular AMD, it is primarily caused by the growth of blood vessels. These can leak or cause bleeding, which in turn can cause scarring, and ultimately damage that is irreversible. There are new medications, which can assist in deal with this form of AMD.
Risk factors include such things as aging, family history and the Macular degeneration gene, which is a genetic defect, which increases the risk of an individual experiencing macular degeneration. Other things that can increase your risk of macular degeneration include Stargardt's disease, Drusen, Arg80GLY variant in C3 a complement protein, hypertension or high blood pressure, a diet high in fat, oxidative stress, a mutation in Fibulin-5, ethnic background, even exposure to sunlight, especially what is called blue light or high energy visible light may also increase risk factors. Symptoms include blurred vision, distorted vision, inability to discern color variations, delayed bright light exposure recovery, a decline in contrast sensitivity and central scotomas. It is important to begin early treatments for macular degeneration if it is available for you type of eye disease.
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