Vision is something many normally-sighted individuals take for granted on a daily basis. But what happens when a person suddenly starts to lose their central field of vision? In some cases, this may be caused by a condition known as macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the retina, the part of the eye that actually receives images and sends them to the brain. The central part of the retina is known as the macula, and is the region that allows us to perform everyday sighted tasks like driving, seeing our loved ones or reading an email. What initially causes this deterioration, however, is less known. Funding for research has been scant, but scientists have thus far concluded that the condition is more likely to occur in older individuals (55 and older), and results from a combination of hereditary and environmental factors.
The primary symptom of macular degeneration is vision loss. Usually, this symptom starts as a loss of central vision, creating a blurred or completely blind spot at the center of one’s field of vision (since the macula is at the center of the retinal layer of the eye). This may cause sufferers to have difficult doing otherwise simple things, and can lead to frustrating disorientation, anxiety and/or depression.
Treatment of macular degeneration focuses on slowing the progression of vision loss rather than attempting to cure it. The most commonly-suggested treatment is the adoption of a healthy lifestyle that includes proper diet and exercise and avoidance of smoking and direct eye exposure to UV rays.
Contact Eye Michigan for an appointment to learn more.