Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss in the United States. It is a progressive disease that affects the macula, the center part of the retina (the back of the eye).

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The light-sensitive retinal tissue controls how you see images: as images focus on the retina they are converted into electrical impulses that travel to the brain via the optic nerve. If there is damage or deterioration of the macula, your central vision will be disrupted.

Central vision is vital to perform common daily tasks such as reading, driving, recognizing faces and seeing fine details.

Many older people develop macular degeneration as part of the natural aging process. There are different kinds of macular problems, but the most common is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). This disease is most common in people over 60, but can appear as early as age 40. If you are over age 60, routine eye exams can diagnose early signs of this degenerative eye disease.

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Macular Degeneration Symptoms

Macular degeneration affects central vision, but not typically peripheral vision. In the early stages you may not have any outward symptoms. As the disease progresses you may experience:

Types of Macular Degeneration

Older couple laughing in the garden

Reasons for Macular Degeneration

Scientists do not know the exact cause of macular degeneration and why some people develop this disease. Heredity, malnutrition, race, smoking and UV light exposure may play a role in increasing your risk for macular degeneration. It makes sense to follow a healthy lifestyle to help protect your vision:

  • Wear UV protection sunglasses when outdoors
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Stop smoking

Treatment for Macular Degeneration

Unfortunately, there is no cure for age-related macular degeneration. However, there are treatments that can slow the progression of the disease:

Over 200,000 cases of macular degeneration are diagnosed every year in the United States. The condition is estimated to affect 15 million Americans. If you are one of those individuals, you are not alone. Our macular degeneration doctors can perform a comprehensive dilated eye exam to help diagnose your condition and recommend treatment options.

Contact Tidewater Eye Centers

If you are experiencing any central vision problems, don’t wait until your vision is permanently lost. Contact us today to schedule an eye exam in Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, or Chesapeake.

The doctors at Tidewater Eye Centers have either authored or reviewed the content on this site.

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