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If you can imagine not being able to make out objects or people directly in front of you, you have some idea of what macular degeneration can do to your vision. More than 10 million Americans have this frightening eye disease, many of whom can slow its progress once it is diagnosed. You can protect yourself against this sight-robber when you have Complete Eye Care of Medina providing macular degeneration treatment in Medina, Maple Grove and Plymouth.
The macula is a small area of the retina toward the back of the eye. This spot is an especially sensitive one that collects a great deal of information that is processed as your central field of vision. Every image your eye focuses on -- words of a page, a nearby face, the road in front of you -- is handled by the macula. Macular degeneration is a slow, irreversible process in which this area sustains damage until it loses function. Your peripheral vision may be intact, but your central vision becomes highly distorted or even completely blank. The disease may progress for years, however, before you actually notice that straight lines look wavy or that there are blank or blurry zones in your eyesight.
Macular degeneration is typically referred to as "age-related" (AMD) because individuals aged 55 and older are at elevated risk for it; in fact, it is the number-one reason for loss of vision in people aged 60 and older. Other risk factors include ethnic heritage, smoking (which can easily double your risk) and a family history of the disease. Excessive exposure to both UV rays and HEV light (the blue part of the spectrum which comes from the sun as well as digital devices) may also play a role in accelerating the development of macular degeneration.
The most important thing our eye doctor can do for your macular degeneration is detect it -- which means scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams at our optometry center. A retinal evaluation can reveal signs of "dry" macular degeneration, the early stage of the disease for most sufferers. Your Medina optometrist can often control this stage by recommending lifestyle/dietary changes, use of UV-blocking sunglasses and a combination of antioxidants and minerals called AREDS2.
Later-stage or "wet" macular degeneration causes leaky abnormal blood vessels to proliferate in the eye, increasing your central vision loss. We can discourage the development of these blood vessels by referring to specialists who administer injectable drugs such as Lucentis. In severe cases, your Medina optometrist may recommend laser treatments to seal troublesome blood vessels.
Don't let macular degeneration sneak up on and rob you of your eyesight. Call Complete Eye Care of Medina a today to schedule your next comprehensive eye exam at our optometry center. It's never too early to catch this disease and start getting it under control!