Macular degeneration is a deterioration or breakdown of the macula. The macula is a small area in the retina at the back of the eye that allows you to see fine details clearly and perform activities such as reading and driving. When the Macula does not function correctly, your central vision can be affected by blurriness, dark areas or distortion. Macular degeneration affects your ability to see near and far, and can make some activities, like threading a needle or reading, difficult or impossible.

Although macular degeneration reduces vision in the central part of the retina, it does not affect the eye’s side, or peripheral, vision. For example, you could see the outline of a clock, but not be able to tell what time it is as illustrated to the left.

What causes Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is part of the body’s natural aging process, and while there are different kinds of macular degeneration, the most common is age related macular degeneration (AMD).

The two most common types of AMD are “dry” (atrophic) and “wet” (exudative). Most people have the “dry” form of AMD. It is caused by aging and thinning of the tissues of the macula. Vision loss is usually gradual.

Although the exact causes of macular degeneration are not fully understood and despite advanced medical treatment, many people with macular degeneration still experience some vision loss. The following recommendations can help to reduce the impact on your vision:

  • Check your vision daily in each eye with the Amsler Grid. This grid is provided to you at the time of your visit regarding AMD
  • Take antioxidant vitamins in consultation with your primary care physician
  • Eat leafy green vegetables
  • Do not smoke
  • Wear UV filtration sun glasses
  • Monitor your blood pressure with your primary care physician
  • If any change in vision occurs, contact our office as soon as possible

Click here to learn about the evaluation and treatment of macular degeneration.