What is Macular Degeneration?

What is Macular Degeneration?

What is Macular Degeneration?

Out of all the debilitating diseases that can cause vision loss, Macular Degeneration is the worst one. It affects a lot of people all over the world. In the U.S it affects more people than Glaucoma and Cataract combined. However, this is not even the most alarming part. The real issue is that we still don’t fully understand the disease or any of its causes. This makes diagnosis a very hard thing until it is too late.

‘What is Macular Degeneration? It is of two main types – Wet macular degeneration and dry macular degeneration. Most cases in the world are reported to be that of dry macular degeneration and all cases of dry macular degeneration start out as wet macular degeneration only. Macular Degeneration mostly affects people over the age of 50 and it is usually diagnosed in its later stages.

There are three main manifestation stages for macular degeneration. They are Early AMD (Age related macular degeneration), Intermediate AMD and Late AMD. In the early stage it is very difficult to diagnose macular degeneration as there are no visible symptoms except for a yellow deposit bellow the retina. That is why it is imperative that we have regular eye checkups. In the intermediate stage, there are no noticeable symptoms. The only way to detect macular degeneration at this stage is through an eye check up. In the third and final stage, vision loss is a reality and your vision will be impaired either by blurriness or by a big black spot right at the center of your field of vision.

There are a certain number of risk factors which can be avoided to avoid the onset of age related macular degeneration. Chief among those risk factors is smoking as studies have shown that smoking can aggravate the onset of AMD in people. Race or ethnicity is another risk factor since studies have shown that Caucasians are more likely to develop AMD then African Americans or Hispanics. And finally the most obvious risk factor is family history. People with a history of AMD in their families face double the risk of develop AMD at a later stage in their lives.

Nowadays with the help of the advancements in technology, there are quite a few medicines available in the market that can reduce the symptoms or stress caused by Macular Degeneration. However a concrete solution to the problem of AMD is yet to be found. Thankfully AMD affects only people above the age of 60 or else there would have been a blindness epidemic in the world! However there is not much time before we figure out the permanent cure for AMD.