5 Things You Need to Know About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is an eye condition that disproportionately affects the aging population. Macular degeneration is a progressive disease that can lead to total blindness over a period of years. It sometimes begins so slowly that those who suffer from it often believe they’re just experiencing normal age-related vision loss. Fortunately, even though there’s no absolute cure for age-related macular degeneration, advances in medical technology have resulted in several positive treatment options. Here’s what you need to know about age-related macular degeneration:

There Are Several Risk Factors for Developing Macular Degeneration

Those over the age of 55 are far more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration than their younger counterparts. Other risk factors include a history of smoking, abnormal blood pressure or elevated cholesterol, and a family history of macular degeneration. You are also at greater risk if you’re Caucasian.

The Early Stages of Macular Degeneration Sometimes Have No Symptoms

Those in the initial stages of macular degeneration experience no symptoms. Unfortunately, a certain number of patients don’t have any symptoms even when they’ve progressed into the intermediate stage. This is why it is important for anyone who falls into the risk categories to schedule an eye exam on a regular basis. Your eye doctor can administer several tests designed to determine whether you have developed this condition.

Possible Symptoms of Early-Stage Macular Degeneration

There are several possible signs that you may have macular degeneration. They include dark or light spots appearing in your center vision, wavy lines, and blurring of your central vision. See your eye doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.

Macular Degeneration May Be Helped By Dietary Supplements

Your eye doctor may suggest certain dietary supplements if you’ve been diagnosed with macular degeneration — evidence exists that these may help slow the progression. These supplements may also be recommended if you have not developed the disease but are in a high-risk group — ask your eye doctor if you think this might be right for you.

Staying Healthy Reduces the Overall Risk of Macular Degeneration

Staying within a healthy weight, watching blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and wearing sunglasses with UV protection while outdoors all may help reduce the chances of developing macular degeneration or slowing its progression if you already have it. 


Please feel free to reach out to us at your convenience if for more information on keeping your eyes as healthy as possible.

Are You at Risk for Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is one of the more complicated diseases of the eye, but it is also a condition that can be associated with certain risk factors. It is best to know if you are at risk of macular degeneration because early diagnosis is the key to preventing the condition from causing permanent damage to your eyes. Here are a few ways you will know if you are at risk so you can discuss your risks with your eye doctor.

1. Do you have a family history of the disease?

Individuals who have had a close family member with macular degeneration wet or dry may be more likely to develop the disease. Research has not yet indicated if there is a genetic factor here or if the environment could be to blame.

2. How old are you?

According to Bright Focus, risks raise from 2 percent between 50 and 59 to around 30 percent over the age of 75. Therefore, the older you get, the more at risk you will be for macular degeneration. It is important to keep close tabs on your vision as you age for this and other reasons.

3. Are you a smoker or do you live with a smoker?

Individuals who smoke are more likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smokers. Likewise, people who are around smokers and secondhand smoke can also be at risk. Therefore, it is best to kick the habit and kick smokers out of the house when they light up if you want to protect your eyes.

4. Do you keep your weight in check?

Obesity is one of the most well-established risk factors for macular degeneration, even though this is not something that most people know. Individuals who do not keep their BMI at a healthy level can develop several vision problems due to underlying health factors, such as unstable blood sugar levels, lack of exercise, and other things.

5. How is your blood pressure?

If you do not keep your blood pressure levels in check by visiting a doctor annually, it is best if you do for the sake of your eyes. High blood pressure can cause a lot of damage to the eyes, but it is also a risk factor for macular degeneration.

Talk to Us About Macular Degeneration Prevention in North Syracuse

The more you know about risks, the more you can protect yourself from macular degeneration. Contact us at McPherson Optometry for more information.