Solutions for Seasonal Allergies

« Back to Home

Understanding Macular Degeneration In Chicago Patients

Posted on
Macular degeneration is the most common reason for individuals over the age of 50 to lose significant amounts of vision. Although macular degeneration for Chicago patients is incredibly prevalent and affects large portion of the middle-aged and senior populations, it is also often misunderstood before diagnosis occurs. Understanding the different forms of macular degeneration, as well as the different treatment methods, can help patients deal with their changes in vision more effectively and with an easier transition. The first important thing to understand in terms of macular degeneration for Chicago patients is that there are two forms of the condition, wet and dry. Dry macular degeneration presents itself with the appearance of drusen, or small yellow cellular debris. As drusen accumulate within the macula, the vision becomes increasingly distorted, especially when trying to read or complete tasks at close range. If the problem continues to grow worse, it can lead to atrophy of tissue below the retina. This atrophy causes extreme levels of blindness in the Chicago macular degeneration patient because the rods and cones at the center of the eye can no longer work effectively. The wet form of macular degeneration is the second type found in Chicago macular degeneration patients. This form of macular degeneration is caused by the growth of additional, extraneous blood vessels within the choriocapillaris. These new blood vessels leak fluid beneath the macula, which can also become scarred. The combination of the excess blood and scarring causes irreversible vision loss in the patient because the photoreceptors become damaged as the blood vessels and fluid accumulate. Before total blindness occurs, the patient might notice distorted and wavy vision, along with blind spots in the field of vision. Although macular degeneration is age-related, there are also other key indicators for who is likely to begin showing signs of the disorder. It is important to understand that macular degeneration is considered to be hereditary. If either of an individual's parents suffered from macular degeneration, it is important to watch out for early signs of vision loss, including blind spots or wavy vision. It is also important for those who had parents with macular degeneration to avoid other diseases and disorders that can lead to macular degeneration. These include high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking. There are some risk factors that cannot be avoided, however. Women with light-colored skin are at particular risk of developing macular degeneration, meaning they should be especially careful to avoid risk factors that increase their chances of developing the condition. Although there is no cure for macular degeneration, it is thankfully easily detected in routine eye exams and can be treated in a way that can help prevent it from growing worse at as fast of a rate as it would if left untreated. For example, those with dry macular degeneration can benefit from taking vitamins with extra antioxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Both wet and dry macular degeneration patients can also benefit from vitamins C, E, zinc, copper, and others. Although none of these supplements can help to reverse the effects of macular degeneration, they can help to slow the progression. There are also different methods of laser surgeries that can help individuals who are suffering from wet macular degeneration. A laser can be used to close off blood vessels that have formed and are leaking beneath the macula. Again, this cannot reverse and atrophy or vision loss that has already occurred because of the blood vessels; however, it can help to keep those blood vessels from creating additional vision loss. This process might need to be repeated if more blood vessels begin to form in the eye. Visit Advanced Retinal Institute for more information.