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Macular Degeneration

Overview

It is a disease that affects the central part of the retina causing gradual loss of central vision; the peripheral vision is maintained. This is a progressive disorder that destroys the sharp, central vision. COMPLICATIONSProblems with the vision can require a change in lifestyle or work.



AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that helps to see fine details. There is no pain, but it causes the macula cells to die. In some cases, it develops so slowly that people do not notice much change in their vision. In other cases, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in both eyes. Regular comprehensive eye examinations can detect macular degeneration before vision is lost, but it can slow the vision loss and not restore it.


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Causes

The macula is the part of the retina that distinguishes fine details at the center of the field of vision. Degeneration results from a partial breakdown of the insulating layer between the retina and the choroid (the layer of blood vessels behind the retina). Destruction of the retinal nerve occurs when fluid leaks into the choroid and forms scar tissue. Macular degeneration is common in the elderly and is considered a process of aging. Family history, cigarette smoking, and being Caucasian can also cause macula degeneration.


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Signs & Symptoms

The main and only symptom is blurred or absent central vision.

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Prevention

There is no known effective prevention. If there is a family history of macular degeneration, then smoking should be avoided.


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Treatments
Therapy with Laser surgery Modern Medicine

There is no specific treatment for macular degeneration, though zinc supplementation in the diet may slow the progression of the disease. Therapy using laser surgery of the eye to coagulate abnormal blood vessels may be useful in the early stages of the disease. An Amsler grid, used at home to chart changes in vision, may also be used.

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