Macular Degeneration Symptoms and Signs

What are some common macular degeneration symptoms and signs?

The term macular degeneration refers to the loss of a person's vision, a loss that is generally painless. The disease is often referred to as age related macular degeneration (ARMD), and concerns things that affect the macula, which is a portion of the retina of the eye, and thereby a person’s central vision.

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A note about Macular Degeneration Symptoms and Signs

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Your central vision is whatever you see directly in front of your eye, rather than from the side - the peripheral vision. Degeneration refers to deterioration in the retina, the eye's inner layer that consists of the receptors and nerves which transmit light from the eye into the optic nerve and then to the brain.

There are two types of the disease and macular degeneration symptoms may differ, depending on whether the person has what is known as wet or dry macular degeneration. Macular degeneration symptoms will also vary from one individual to another.

Dry macular degeneration relates to the deterioration of tissue in a person's central line of vision. This type of degeneration is characterized by small, yellow white spots known as drusen. These spots are found at the back of the retina and are detected by a special lens or an ophthalmoscope. Most people who have age related macular degeneration usually begin with this type.

In the wet type of the disease, abnormal blood cells form under the middle of the retina. They may leak or bleed and cause scarring of the retina, thus destroying the person's central vision. The problem usually begins in one eye and may later affect the second eye. Compared to dry macular degeneration, vision loss with the wet form occurs quite quickly.

There is some natural health evidence to suggest that people who eat a good diet and take vitamin supplements that contain high doses of zinc and antioxidants may have a lower risk of developing age related macular degeneration. Vegetables that contain carotenoids have also been found to lower the risk of developing the disease.

What to Look For

So what macular degeneration symptoms and signs should one look out for?

Age related macular degeneration often begins with blurred vision; some patients may ignore these symptoms when they are only in one eye, until it affects the second eye, too. A common macular degeneration symptom is blind spots, also known as scotomas.

In recent times, ARMD (or AMD) has been given some publicity on television, with some focus on how straight lines look bent or crooked and each eye may see the same object quite differently.

Some patients develop micropsia, which is where items appear smaller to one eye than to the other; in such a situation, the macular becomes swollen and bulging, which causes the brain to transmit a smaller image in the affected eye.

On its own, the dry form of the disease rarely causes total blindness, and sufferers may experience problems in either one eye or the other.

It is possible to detect whether a person has the ailment even before the onset of any macular degeneration symptoms, and it is recommended that people over the age of forty five should have their eyes examined by an ophthalmologist, with a follow up examination every two years.

People should also examine their own eyes on a weekly basis using what is known as an Amsler grid, and inform their ophthalmologist if there are any changes.

If you notice a sudden loss of vision in one or both of your eyes, then you should see an ophthalmologist immediately. When wet age related macular degeneration is treated early on, further loss of vision can be halted.

Having read about possible macular degeneration symptoms and signs, you may wish to learn more about this disease by reading the other related macular degeneration articles and pages.

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