Macular degeneration(MD) affects the central highly sensitive portion of the retina that is responsible for our near vision and color perception. It usually affects both eyes but often may begin in one eye.
People are usually unaware that they have MD in the early stages. Macular Degeneration does not lead to total blindness, as it only affects the central vision.
The most common symptoms include difficulty reading, blurred near vision, and distortion of straight lines. It is found most often in people over fifty years of age. If you notice these symptoms, it is important to see have an eye examination as soon as possible. Multivitamins that contain beta carotene (vitamin A), zinc, and lutein may help slow the progression of MD.
Most patients have dry macular degeneration which usually remains fairly stable, but can worsen gradually over time in some patients. The more severe type is wet or exudative macular degeneration and this involves leakage of fluid or bleeding into the retina.
There is no cure for MD, but injections of medications into the eye and various laser treatments may help to slow the progression of wet macular degeneration.
Patients over fifty or those with a family history of MD should have their eyes examined regularly.