Macular degeneration is an eye condition of the retina that affects a person’s central vision, or straight-ahead vision. The retina is a thin tissue lining the back inner wall of the eye that houses our photoreceptors, cones and rods. These sensory cells play a role in transmitting the image that enters the eye to the brain to allow us to see. The macula is an important structure within the retina that is responsible for our sharpest detail and color vision, and what we use to drive, read, and see faces. Macular degeneration occurs when waste products form deposits in this crucial area. This can cause someone to experience blur, distortion, or spots of missing vision. People may also have a more difficult time seeing colors. While macular degeneration alone cannot cause a person to lose all vision to complete darkness, the condition can significantly impact a person’s lifestyle and daily activities.
There are different stages: early, intermediate, advanced, as well as two forms of macular degeneration: dry and wet. A comprehensive dilated eye examination by an eye care provider once every year is recommended to help with prevention, early detection, and treatment of macular degeneration. There are a few identifiable factors that increase a person’s likelihood of developing macular degeneration: age (over 50), Caucasian race, female, smoking, family history of macular degeneration, and ultraviolet exposure. A healthy diet of green leafy vegetables and colorful fruits, exercise, UV protection (sunglasses), and avoiding smoking can help prevent macular degeneration. The effects of macular degeneration cannot be reversed, and a pair of new glasses may not always be the answer for improved vision. However, a person may benefit from low vision services provided by an individual or a team of professionals who specialize in low vision. Low vision devices such as magnification, lighting, and other assistive devices may aid a person in their daily routine. The goal of these low vision services is to offer assistance and training that can help a person maintain as much of their independence as possible.
The Sight Center of Northwest Ohio provides a unique blend of programs and services that can help people of all ages work, learn, play and live independently with permanent vision loss. To learn more, visit our SERVICES page or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-720-3937.
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Here are some additional resources on this condition:
Macular Degeneration Foundation- http://eyesight.org
American Academy of Ophthalmology- https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/macular-degeneration
American Academy of Ophthalmology- https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/amd-macular-degeneration
American Academy of Ophthalmology- https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/and-low-vision