Knowing The Risks of Macular Degeneration

  • Macular degeneration is essentially an age-related vision disorder and is now the leading cause of visual impairment in Americans age 65 and over.
  • Macular degeneration damages the light-sensitive cells in the macula (the center of the retina), thus destroying what is referred to as straight-ahead vision.
  • The most common early sign for dry macular degeneration is blurred vision. The classic early symptom for the wet form of the disease is that straight lines appear crooked.
  •  In some cases – when the disease is detected very early and is caused by the leakage of blood from vessels behind the macula – there are treatment options, such as photodynamic therapy and Lucentis®.
  • There is currently no viable treatment to prevent vision loss in the advanced stages of the disease.

Lowering your Risks of Macular Degeneration

Though not guaranteed, the following steps may help to lower your risk of developing macular degeneration:

  • If you smoke, stop. Smokers have twice the risk of developing the disease than non-smokers.
  • Eat more leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale that contain "carotenoids" – an antioxidant that may aid prevention.
  • If there is a history of vision loss in your family, be sure to have annual eye exams.

The information contained here should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified health care professional and it is not intended to constitute medical advice.