Macular Degeneration: Symptoms And Treatment

It is an age related condition. It is a medical ailment that affects the older adults which results in loss of vision in the centre of the visual field. It is due to an injury to the retina. It occurs in two forms. They are dry forms and wet forms. It is the major and the most common cause of loss of this kind of vision in elder people aging more than 50 years. The people suffering from this disorder find it impossible to read or recognize the faces. Though the presence of the peripheral vision, they can perform the other daily activities.

Classification:

The Macular degeneration is classified into two types:

  • Dry: It is occurred due to the atrophy to the retinal pigment epithelial layer below the retina, which causes the loss of the vision due to damage to the photoreceptors.
  • Wet: It is the loss of vision that is caused because of the abnormal blood vessel growth called neovascularization which causes leaking of the blood and the proteins below the macula. This causes damage to the photoreceptors which is irreversible and if this condition is left untreated it causes rapid loss of the vision.

Etiology:

The primary cause for this condition to arise is the old age. The people having age more than 60 have Macular Degeneration in them. This condition is also related genetically. 50% people having family history develop this condition. A gene called SERPING1 is responsible for the development of this condition. Retinitis pigmentosa is a condition genetically linked with retina due to mutation in adenosine triphosphate synthase gene responsible for the development of this condition. Stargardt’s disease is another genetically linked disease responsible for the development of this condition. The other causes for the occurrence of this disease are as follows:

  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol diet and obesity
  • Oxidative stress
  • This disorder is seen most commonly in Caucasians than the people of African descent.
  • Prolonged exposure to the sunlight
  • Smoking tobacco increase the risk of development of the disorder

Symptoms:

The symptoms of Macular Degeneration are as follows:

  • Drusen: It is the accumulation of the white extracellular material in the Bruch’s membrane of the eye.
  • Alterations in the pigment
  • Hemorrhages in the eye. Presence of the exudates and the presence of the intra retinal fluid
  • Atrophy of the retina or the retinal pigmentary epithelium which causes the degeneration of the photoreceptors.
  • Decrease in the visual acuity.
  • Blurring of the vision
  • Presence of the scotomas or the shadows in the centre of the visual field
  • The vision is distorted
  • Trouble differentiating the colors.
  • When the person is exposed to the bright light, the recovery of the visual function is delayed.
  • There is loss in contrast sensitivity.

Treatment:

The condition of Macular Degeneration can be reduced in elder age by increasing the intake of carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Omega-3 fatty acids consumption can decrease the progression of early onset of the disease. Vitamin and mineral supplementations can decrease the chances of development of this disease.

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