WHAT IS AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye defect/ disease that blurs your central vision making it almost difficult to read, do daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, laundry and sometimes recognizing faces. It does not mean total blindness but without treating, it can damage your entire vision. It is mostly caused by aging after the Macula of the retina has been damaged . Macula is the part of the eye that controls sharp, straight-ahead vision.
AMD is the major cause of sight loss in the United Kingdom, affecting more than 1.5 million people.
A group of rare inherited conditions called macular dystrophies has affected much younger people. Most of these rare conditions can appear in childhood, although some are not diagnosed until later in life. This macular degeneration are often traced to human genetics or external factors such as intake of Cigarettes. The symptoms most of the time are not very evident until certain ages but you can know it is present if you experience any of these
SYMPTOMS OF MACULAR DEGENERATION
- Difficulty in recognizing contrast or luminance that makes an object distinguishable
- Loss of color recognition especially when you are comparing light to lighter colors or dark to darker colors
- Asymptomatic or loss of Central Vision usually noticeable when you start having a blurry vision
- Difficulty in visual function recovery when exposed to very bright light
- Metamorphopsia, a type of distorted vision in which a grid of straight lines appears wavy and parts of the grid may appear blank when you concentrate your views on a particular object.
TYPSE OF AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION
- Dry AMD
- Wet AMD
Dry AMD: Dry AMD is when parts of the macula get thinner with age and tiny clumps of protein called Drusen grow or affect the Retina Pigment Epithelium. You slowly lose central vision.
Wet AMD: Wet AMD occurs when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels may leak blood or other fluids, causing scarring of the macula. This is more dangerous than the Dry AMD because you loose your vision faster.
The causes and risk factors for macular degeneration are many and complicated. Some you can’t do anything about (family history, gender, race, age e.t.c) but there are some you can. Take the following steps to help reduce your risks of exacerbating the problem:
- If you do smoke, stop. Smoking is linked to a 2-fold increase in the risk of macular degeneration
- Reduced exposure to UV light: Wear good quality sunglasses and a brimmed hat on Sunny days to reduce UV exposure to the eyes
- Eat a duet rich in green leafy Vegetables: Spinach, Kale and Broccoli are all good sources of the key macular pigment Lutein
- Eat a diet rich in oily fish: Nutritional studies have found beneficial effect for oily fish and they will help Lutein absorption