How to deal with macular degeneration symptoms

Macular degeneration symptoms are triggered by a disorder that affects the macula (the central part of the retina of the eye) causing decreased visual acuity and possible loss of central vision.

Causes of macular degeneration symptoms

The macula is the part of the retina that allows the eye to see fine details at the center of the field of vision.

Degeneration results from a partial breakdown of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE).

The RPE is the insulating layer between the retina and the choroid (the layer of blood vessels behind the retina). The RPE acts as a selective filter to determine what nutrients reach the retina from the choroid. Many components of blood are harmful to the retina and are kept away from the retina by normal RPE.

Breakdown of the RPE interferes with the metabolism of the retina, causing thinning of the retina (the "dry" phase of macular degeneration). These harmful elements may also promote new blood vessel formation and fluid leakage (the "wet" phase of macular degeneration symptoms).

This disorder results in the loss of central vision only, peripheral fields are always maintained. Although loss of ability to read and drive may be caused by macular degeneration symptoms, the disease does not lead to complete blindness.

The disease becomes increasingly common amongst people in each succeeding decade over 50. By age 75, almost 15% of people have this condition. Other risk factors are family history, cigarette smoking, and being Caucasian.

Macular degeneration symptoms

Common macular degeneration symptoms are blurred, distorted, dim, or absent central vision. Tests to evaluate the retina may include Visual acuity, Refraction test, Pupillary reflex response, Slit lamp examination, Retinal examination by various techniques, Retinal photography, Fluorescein angiography and sometimes indocyanine green angiography.

Treatment of macular degeneration symptoms

There is no specific medical treatment for "dry" macular degeneration symptoms.

For the "wet" form of macular degeneration symptoms, laser photocoagulation (laser surgery to coagulate leaking choroidal blood vessels) may be useful in the early stages of the wet form of the disease. It involves the use of a thermal laser, which burns the abnormal, leaky blood vessels and stops them from spreading.

A newer treatment option for patients with "wet" macular degeneration is photodynamic therapy, which can be performed in a doctor's office. In this procedure a light-sensitive medication called Visudyne (verteporfin) is injected into a vein in the patient's arm. The drug circulates through the body to the eyes.

When a non-thermal laser is shone into the eyes, Visudyne produces a chemical reaction that destroys abnormal blood vessels.

If the vessels re-grow, the procedure can be repeated.

Photodynamic therapy is expensive and is not curative, but it can be successful in managing a particular area of leakage from the choroid through the RPE.

Appropriate zinc supplementation may slow the progression of the disease. In addition, a fish oil supplement may be considered. Fish oil contain a high concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids that form an important part of the building blocks of the retina. Fish oil intake may improve focus, color, perception and clarity of vision.

Most people with mild dry macular degeneration will never have disabling central vision loss. However, there is no way to predict who will progress to a more severe form of the disease. This disorder results in the loss of central vision only, macular degeneration symptoms cannot cause peripheral vision loss.

If you have a family history of macular degeneration, a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet will put chances on your side. Natural nutrients should also be considered.

Learn how to prevent macular degeneration symptoms, the natural way


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