Did you know that macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the United States for people over the age of 55? Generally caused by old age, macular degeneration is not only the leading cause of blindness, it is also incurable. The macula is part of the retina, which is what controls and focuses the central vision of your eye. It helps you read, recognize details and people, and essentially do anything that requires intense vision. But if you develop macular degeneration, your macula and retain begin to deteriorate, leaving you with vision that slowly disappears. It might not be completely blinding, but it will definitely leave you with drastic vision loss and sight disabilities.
Common and Dry
Almost 90% of macular degeneration cases come in “dry” form. Think of it as your retina drying out (although this is not exactly what happens). Small deposits will start to form on your macula. These drusen are yellow and start out small. Soon, however, they will grow in both size and number, slowly altering your vision. You may find that your vision is dimming or is not as clear as it once was. In its advanced stages, the macula tissue starts to thin and die, causing you to lose your central vision.
There is no cure for dry macular degeneration. Not only is there no cure, but there is also no way to reverse its affects. You can slow its progress, but eventually it will run its course and do its damage.
Grab an Umbrella. It’s Wet in There
Alright, so you won’t need an umbrella, but macular degeneration can sometimes get wet. In about 10-15% of cases, the deterioration will actually be caused by fluid in the eye. Abnormal blood vessels form under the macula, and your vision becomes distorted as extra fluid from these blood vessels leaks into the retina. It may start to appear as if you are viewing everything through a little bit of liquid—because you are. Straight lines might look wavy, and there might be some blind spots. Eventually, just like with dry macular degeneration, you will permanently lose your central vision.
There are some treatments that may temporarily restore eye sight lost through wet macular degeneration, but overall it is incurable.
If you think you might be suffering from this disease or might develop it later on, please see an eye doctor.