Recognizing the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
Comprehensive eye care is important to maintaining eye health and keeping vision at its best. Undergoing regular eye exams is essential to detecting health conditions, like macular degeneration, that can interfere with vision as early as possible.
Macular degeneration is a serious condition that can lead to a loss of central vision without treatment. Recognizing the symptoms of macular degeneration is critical to seeking treatment and protecting vision. At the La Jolla, CA, Carmel Valley, CA, San Diego, CA, area practice GW Eye Associates, Drs. Gordon G. Wong and Wildon C. Wong provide treatment to slow the progression of macular degeneration and preserve vision.
What Is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a condition that affects the retina and impacts central vision. Macular degeneration is typically age-related, usually occurring after the age of 50.
There are two types of macular degeneration. The first, most common type, is dry macular degeneration, which is characterized by a buildup of protein deposits, called drusen, beneath the macula (the central part of the retina). Wet macular degeneration is less common and occurs when blood vessels under the retina and macula leak blood and fluid.
The Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration can affect one or both eyes. When both eyes are affected, it can be to varying degrees, meaning the vision in one eye may be better or worse than the other.
There is no cure for macular degeneration, so recognizing the symptoms as soon as possible is critical to preserving vision. The following are some key symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored.
Macular degeneration can cause vision to become blurry or fuzzy. Because macular degeneration affects central vision, things in your central field of vision may look fuzzy or blurry.
Wavy Straight Lines
Some people with macular degeneration will notice that straight lines look wavy or straight lines may appear to curve.
Changes to Central Vision
Both dry and wet macular degeneration impact the center field of vision. Some people may notice a dark spot in the center of their vision while others may develop a blind spot or see an empty area.
Losing central vision can make it dangerous to drive and difficult to read or do detailed work.
Presence of Drusen
Drusen are small yellow deposits of protein and fatty lipids on the retina. The presence of drusen is a common sign of macular degeneration and can be detected during an eye exam.
Difficulty Recognizing Faces
Macular degeneration can make it difficult to recognize familiar faces as a result of problems with central vision.
Treating Macular Degeneration
There is no cure for macular degeneration, but with early detection, it’s possible to slow its progression and preserve vision. Some treatments include:
- Changes to diet and lifestyle
- Taking certain nutritional supplements
- Medications and injections
- Laser surgery
Schedule an Eye Exam
The damage caused by macular degeneration cannot be reversed. This makes early detection critical in treating macular degeneration and protecting eyesight. Don’t wait for the signs of macular degeneration to schedule an eye exam. Contact our office online to schedule an appointment.