Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a severe eye disorder that occurs in the center of the retina, also known as being called the macula. This disorder ultimately makes it very hard for a person to see fine details. The retina is a very important factor in every persons eye. It is the layer of tissue that lies in the back of the inner eye. Light and images that enter the retina, enter the eye and change into nerve signals that are eventually sent to the brain. Inside the retina, is the macula. This is the part that makes our vision sharper and more detailed. So when a person is diagnosed with macular degeneration, this is where the damage occurs.

Macular degeneration is caused when there is damage to the blood vessels surrounding the macula. There have been two phases of macular degeneration that have been found to exist. The first phase is dry macular degeneration. This occurs when the blood vessels that are surrounding the macula become very brittle and thin. As the blood vessels become weak, small yellow deposits, called drusen, form in the macula. As they grow in size and number, they begin to create a dim spot in the central vision of the eye.

The second phase of this disorder is called wet macular degeneration. This phase actually only occurs in about 10% of people with macular degeneration. In this phase, the brittle vessels break down and new abnormal fragile blood vessels grow under the macula. When this occurs, it is what you call choroidal neovascularization. The vessels that form leak blood and fluid, which ultimately leads to damage of the macula. The people that do suffer from this form of macular degeneration often loose complete sight of their vision.

Most people that develop macular degeneration are over sixty years of age. But there are also other factors that may contribute to contracting this disease. These include heredity, Caucasian race, smoking of cigarettes, high-fat diet, being female, and obesity. Most, besides a select few are very easy to avoid and will help reduce the chances of developing this “blind spot” in your vision.

Macular degeneration often in most cases, are very mild. When they have a mild dry macular degeneration, they do not develop central vision loss that is disabling to them, but it could always worsen. On the other hand, the small hand full of those with wet macular degeneration often end up with severe vision loss. Macular degeneration can overall cause inconvenience because it causes people to lose their ability to read, drive, and distinguish faces that are not close up, but luckily never causes complete blindness. This disorder will only cause loss of vision in the central vision, never in the peripheral vision. The only noticeable inconvenience is the huge “blind spot” right in the center of your vision.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading your post on Macular Degeneration. It was extremely informative and interesting; especially the section on contributing factors. Scary thing is I'm Caucasian, smoke, and am female...>.< I'm going to have to eliminate that second factor so I can lessen the likelihood of getting this down the road.