Dry macular degeneration is deterioration of the macula that can cause loss of vision in the center of the vision field. The macula is placed in the center of the retina. It is actually the tissue in the macula, the tissue layer that is situated on the back wall of the eyeball from the inside that thickens and may break down with age what probably results in dry macular degeneration. It is an age-associated degeneration. There are two types of such degeneration, the dry macular degeneration and the wet macular degeneration. The dry type of macular degeneration occurs more often. It may cause blurry central vision or a blind spot in the central vision what may make worse the everyday life quality as clear central vision is needed for accomplishing a lot of tasks such as reading, driving or recognizing things and faces.
The symptoms of dry macular degeneration develop progressively. The following vision changes may be experienced:
- Difficulty to adapt to low light level
- Need for brighter light when doing some tasks such as reading
- Printed words are blurry
- Recognizing faces is difficult
- Decrease of intensity and brightness of colours
- Lack of clarity of the central or overall vision
- Twisted central vision
- Blurry or blind spot in the center of the vision field
- Hallucinations of shapes and people if the case is more severe
The degeneration may affect one of the eyes or both eyes. When only one eye is affected, vision changes may not be experienced because the other eye can compensate the weak vision ability of the affected one.
It is good to visit a doctor if the person experiences changes in the vision in the central part or the ability to detect colours and details is distorted. These changes usually occur as first signs of dry macular degeneration, especially if the person is older than 50.
It is not clear what the actual reason for dry macular degeneration to occur is, but it is known that the condition develops with aging. The degeneration affects the macula which is responsible for clear, direct sight and the tissue in the macula can become thinner and eventually break down with age.
Some of the factors that increase the risk of dry macular degeneration are:
- Age-affects mostly people older than 50; it is most common among 65-year olds
- Race-it affects mostly white people (Caucasians)
- Family history-the risk is greater if there has been a case of macular degeneration in the family
- Poor diet
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Elevated cholesterol
The complication that may occur is the dry macular degeneration to progress into the wet type which can cause rapid loss of the vision.
Unfortunately, the progress of dry macular degeneration cannot be reversed. However, because the degeneration progresses slowly, a lot of people don’t ever lose their vision completely and live quite normal lives, especially if the person has only one eye affected by this condition.
Doctors usually recommend people with dry macular degeneration to visit the hospital for an eye exam every year in order to check whether the condition is progressing. Some of the treatments they may offer are:
- Taking increased dose of antioxidant vitamins and zinc what may diminish the progress of the degeneration to bring to loss of the vision
- Implanting telescopic lens- an implant surgery of a telescopic lens in one eye which is recommended for people that have advanced stage of dry macular degeneration in both eyes
The following measures should be taken into consideration in order to help avoid macular degeneration:
- Regular routine eye exams
- Managing other disease
- Quit smoking
- Healthy weight
- Regular exercise
- Rich diet (lots of fruits and vegetables such as kale, broccoli, peas, spinach as well as eating fish more often and many walnuts which are rich in omega-3)