What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular Degeneration is a chronic, progressive eye disease that affects the central retina or macula.

Also known as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), macular degeneration is a disease associated with aging that gradually destroys sharp, central vision. AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. AMD causes no pain.

Macular Degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 50 years of age and older. In some cases, macular degeneration advances so slowly that people do not notice the change in their vision. For other people, macular degeneration progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in both eyes.

Quick facts about Macular Degeneration:

  • Leading cause of acquired legal blindness and visual impairment among people over the age of 50 in North America and other Western industrialized societies.
  • More than 15 million Macular Degeneration patients in North America.
  • 1.5 million new cases each year.
  • Center for Disease Control in the United States predicts 30 million cases by 2020.
  • More people will go blind due to Macular Degeneration than cataracts and glaucoma combined.

Macular Degeneration

VISION WITH MACULAR DEGENERATION.
As macular degeneration develops, clear, normal vision (shown left) becomes impaired by a general haziness. With advanced macular degeneration, a blind spot forms at the center of your visual field (shown right).


Dry Macular Degeneration

Dry Macular Degeneration is a chronic eye disease that causes the loss of vision. This loss of vision affects the field of vision in the center of your eye. It is the deterioration of the macula, which is in the center of the retina, the layer of tissue on the inside back wall of your eyeball, that identifies macular degeneration.

Dry Macular Degeneration diminishes your quality of life by causing a blind spot in your central vision or by causing blurring; however it doesn’t cause total blindness.

 
Dry Macular Degeneration is one of two types of Age-related Macular Degeneration. The other type, wet Macular Degeneration, is characterized by swelling caused by leaky blood vessels in the back of the eye. Dry Macular Degeneration isn’t associated with swelling and is the more-common form of the disease.

Research articles published in Nutrition & Metabolism and Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics have suggested that the three components in MacuHealth with LMZ3 can slow down and even improve visual acuity. (http://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/lutein.htm)
 

Wet Macular Degeneration

Wet macular degeneration is a chronic eye disease that causes the loss of vision. This loss of vision affects the field of vision in the center of your eye. It is the swelling caused by leaking blood vessels that affect the macula which identifies wet macular degeneration. If wet macular degeneration is detected early and treated, it may help reduce the extent of vision loss and, in some cases even improve vision.

 

Signs & Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

Eventually, macular degeneration will cause devastating central vision loss that cannot be corrected and/or reversed by eyeglasses, contact lenses and/or laser surgery. New drugs acting on the later stages of macular degeneration have shown good results in some patients, but only to potentially stabilize the disease and not reverse or cure the affliction.

If you notice changes to your vision in the following areas you should speak with your doctor particularly if you are older than 50.
  • You now have a blurred or blind spot in the center of your field of vision
  • You require more light when reading
  • You find it difficult to adapt to low lit areas
  • Printed words become slightly blurry
  • Colors do not seem as bright
  • Sometime you have difficulty recognizing faces
  • Your overall vision is becoming hazy

Central vision distortion or scotoma (blind spot)

Central vision distortion
or scotoma (blind spot)

Contrast sensitivity

Contrast sensitivity decrease
(reduced ability to judge contrast)

Colour vision loss or distortion

Colour vision loss or distortion

Causes of Macular Degeneration

Even though there is no known exact cause for Macular Degeneration, its origins are considered multi-factorial and the following factors may place you at a higher risk:

  • Family history of Macular Degeneration
  • Low macular pigment density
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • Farsightedness
  • Obesity
  • Sun exposure
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help you with a great deal of health issues, including reducing your risk of developing macular degeneration.