Macular degeneration is an age-related disease that causes the smallest portion of the retina to become deteriorated. This is the most common cause of vision loss for adults 70 and older, leaving patients with restricted ability to drive, read and recognize their peers. Although macular degeneration is rarely a totally blinding condition, it can be a factor in significant visual disability.
Most patients who live with this disease experience dry macular degeneration specifically and can lose some of their central vision. Dry macular degeneration occurs when there are yellow deposits, known as drusen, located in the macula. A small amount may not impact vision, but if they grow, many patients will notice a significant difference in their vision. If this disease evolves into its atrophic form, many patients will experience blind spots in their vision. There is also a chance that dry macular degeneration will progress to wet macular degeneration over time.
Wet macular degeneration has a higher chance of vision loss, but only accounts for 10 to 15 percent of cases. This form is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels from the choroid, called choroidal neovascularization, that causes vessels to leak blood and fluid in the retina. The impact of this leaking leaves vision looking distorted and crowded by blind spots. The vessels then tend to scar, leading to permanent loss of vision. Currently, there are no cures for this form of macular degeneration, except for the treatment of injectable medication to help you revert back to a less threatening form of dry macular degeneration.
The most common risk factors for this disease are genetics, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and other health conditions. It is important to monitor your eyesight carefully and get routine eye care at Graf Medical Eye Care for any changes.
To make an appointment for an examination with our optometric physician , Dr. Jeffery Graf OD FAAO, please call 435-634-0420 and learn more about macular degeneration in St. George, Utah.