Understanding Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss and affects millions of people. Keep reading to learn more about this common problem and find out how to protect your eyes.

What is macular degeneration?
Your retina is at the back of your eye and helps to record images and transmit them to your optic nerve. The center section of the retina is the macula and this section helps to focus central vision. This makes it possible for you to read, drive, see objects in detail, recognize faces, and more.

When this section of the retina deteriorates, the result is macular degeneration and central vision loss. People with macular degeneration may be able to see things on the periphery, but the center will be obscured. In the early stages, people may not notice that they have any vision loss, which is why regular eye examinations are important. An optometrist can detect macular degeneration long before you notice the symptoms.

Who is at risk for macular degeneration?
macular degenerationIn many cases, macular degeneration is a result of aging, so almost everyone has some risk, but the following people have a greater risk of experiencing macular degeneration:

  • People with a family history of macular degeneration
  • People who smoke
  • People who are Caucasian
  • People over 55
    Obesity, high blood pressure, and too much UV radiation may also increase your risk for macular degeneration.

How can you protect your vision?
You may not be able to completely avoid macular degeneration, and there is not a cure for it. However, a healthy lifestyle and diet can help you lower your risks and early diagnosis can slow the progression of the disease and help you protect your vision for as long as possible.

Eating fruits and vegetables with antioxidants, wearing sunglasses to guard your eyes against UV radiation, exercising regularly, avoiding smoking, and visiting your optometrist for regular checkups can help you protect your vision and live a healthier life.

If you think you may be at risk for macular degeneration, or if you want to learn more about keeping your eyes healthy, contact Roholt Vision Institute.

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