Facts about Macular Degeneration
As we age we need to be aware of a variety of health concerns, including those that affect our eye sight. The optometrists at Utah Valley Eye Center in Provo can help to prevent and treat a lot of vision ailments that occur over our life time, including macular degeneration. Listed below are some facts about macular degeneration to help you to know what it is and the warning signs.
- Macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years of age and older.
- Age-related macular degeneration is an irreversible destruction of the macula, which leads to loss of the sharp, fine-detail, “straight ahead” vision required for activities like reading, driving, recognizing faces, and seeing the world in color.
- Age is a prominent risk factor for age-related macular degeneration. The risk of getting advanced age-related macular degeneration increases from 2% for those ages 50-59, to nearly 30% for those over the age of 75.
- The dry form of macular degeneration, in which the light sensitive cells of the macula slowly break down, is the most common type, accounting for 90 percent of diagnosed cases.
- Wet macular degeneration accounts for approximately 10 percent of cases, but results in 90 percent of legal blindness. It is considered advanced macular degeneration (there is no early or intermediate stage of wet macular degeneration). Wet macular degeneration is always preceded by the dry form of the disease.
- Advanced age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of irreversible blindness and visual impairment in the world.
- The number of people living with macular degeneration is expected to reach 196 million worldwide by 2020 and increase to 288 million by 2040.
- To help diagnose macular degeneration, an eye care professional will perform a dilated eye exam, fundoscopy, a visual acuity test, and fundus photography. If wet age-related macular degeneration is suspected, fluorescein angiography may be performed, in which dye is used to detect leaking blood vessels.
- There is no treatment or cure for advanced dry macular degeneration. But a specific high-dose formula of antioxidant vitamins and zinc may delay or prevent intermediate macular degeneration from progressing to the advanced stage.
- A healthy lifestyle may help reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration.
Consult with your optometrist at Utah Valley Eye Center in Provo if you think you are at risk for Macular Degeneration today.