Macular Degeneration Causes: Symptoms And How To Prevent It?

Macular degeneration is an impairment of the eye which is characterized by vision loss in the center of the field of vision. The disorder is typified by weakening of the macula (which is present in the center of the retina).

Macular degeneration affects the quality of life by causing blurring of the central vision or a blind spot in your central vision.

You need clear central vision for driving, reading, and recognizing faces.

Macular degeneration is bifurcated in to two types – wet and dry. Dry macular degeneration is typified by a deterioration of the macula in the eye; whilst, in wet macular degeneration, there is oozing of fluid and blood due to the blood vessels that grow under the retina in the back of the eye.

What Are The Causes Of Macular Degeneration?

The precise cause of macular degeneration is not yet known on the other hand the condition develops as the eye ages. With advancing age, the tissue in your macula tends to get thin and it starts to breaks down.

Certain factors have been recognized as risk factors for the development of macular degeneration and these are:

  • Age: Risk increases as you age, particularly after 50 years.
  • Family history: If someone in your family had macular degeneration, there is a likelihood of you developing the condition.
  • Race: Macular degeneration is commoner in Caucasians than in other races.
  • Smoking: Smoking raises your risk significantly.
  • Obesity: Is a very important risk factor.
  • Unhealthy diet: A diet comprising of very little fruits and vegetables increases the chances of developing macular degeneration.
  • Cardiovascular disease: If you have heart disorders, you are at a higher risk of developing degeneration of the macula.
  • High levels of cholesterol: Have been associated with a higher risk of macular degeneration.

Symptoms Of Macular Degeneration

By and large, symptoms develop slowly. You may perceive the vision changes as follows:

  • You may require brighter light whilst you read.
  • Failure to adapt to low levels of light, like when you go in to a faintly lit area.
  • Printed words appear blurry.
  • Difficulty in recognizing faces.
  • Reduced brilliance of colors.
  • Progressive increase in mistiness of vision.
  • Your central vision will be warped.
  • You will notice a blind spot in the center of your field of vision.
  • Phantom geometric shapes in very advanced cases.

How To Prevent Macular Degeneration?

Here’s how you could ward off macular degeneration:

  • Have routine eye examinations. A dilated eye exam helps identify the disorder.
  • Manage other disease-conditions. If you have heart disease or hypertension, take your medications regularly and follow your doctor’s instructions for managing the condition.
  • Quit smoking. Talk to your health care provider for help to stop smoking.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. You need to manage your weight and increase the amount of exercise.
  • Incorporate loads of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Select a healthy diet packed with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. These foods provide you with a burst of powerful antioxidants which help cut down your risk of developing macular degeneration. Consume plenty of spinach, kale, broccoli, peas, apples, berries and mangoes.
  • Include fish in your diet. Fish are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids which decrease your risk of macular degeneration. Walnuts are another very good source of omega 3 fatty acids.

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