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Dry Macular Degeneration: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Oct 24, 2023

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Causes Of Dry Macular Degeneration

Symptoms Of Dry Macular Degeneration

Risk Factors Of Dry Macular Degeneration

Diagnosis Of Dry Macular Degeneration

Treatment Of Dry Macular Degeneration

Vitamins as supplements to boost vitamin intake

Treatments for reduced vision

Telescopic lens insertion surgery

Prevention Of Dry Macular Degeneration

Complications Of Dry Macular Degeneration

Dry Macular Degeneration: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Dry macular degeneration is a common eye problem in those over 50. Blurred or reduced center vision is caused by the deterioration of the macula's inner layers. The macula is the region of the retina that gives the eye clear vision in the direct line of sight.

Dry macular degeneration may occur in one eye before the other. It could also show up in both eyes simultaneously. Over time, problems with vision can worsen and make it more difficult to do everyday tasks like driving, reading, and facial recognition. Dry macular degeneration does not, however, ensure complete blindness. 

When central vision is lost, people typically lose their peripheral vision as well. Some people just have a slight loss of central vision. For some people, it could be more severe. Medication for dry macular degeneration early in the process can prevent vision loss.


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Causes Of Dry Macular Degeneration

It is unknown what specifically causes dry macular degeneration. Research indicates that a combination of inherited genes and environmental factors, such as food, obesity, and smoking, maybe the reason.

The condition appears as the eye matures. Dry macular degeneration affects the macula. The macula is the area of the retina that provides clear vision in the direct line of sight. With time, the tissue of the macula may contract and lose its cells associated to vision.

Symptoms Of Dry Macular Degeneration

The majority of the time, dry macular degeneration symptoms develop gradually and painlessly. They might include:

  • Abnormalities in vision, such as the perception of curved lines.
  • The central vision of one or both eyes is impaired.
  • The need for more light when working closely or reading.
  • Difficulty acclimating to low light situations, including entering a dimly light restaurant or theatre.
  • Unable to identify faces.
  • A distinct blind or fuzzy area in one's field of vision.

It is possible to develop dry macular degeneration in one or both eyes. If only one eye is impacted by the condition, your vision might not be affected.. This is due to the possibility that your healthy eye will make up for the damaged eye. Furthermore, because the condition does not impair side vision, it does not result in total blindness.

Dry macular degeneration is one of the two types of age-related macular degeneration. It may result in wet macular degeneration, which is marked by blood vessel development and leakage behind the retina. Even though the dry type is more common, it frequently progresses gradually over several years. It is more likely that the wet form will cause a substantial and rapid loss of vision.


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Risk Factors Of Dry Macular Degeneration

Your risk of macular degeneration may be increased by the following factors:

  • Age: Most patients with this condition are older than 60.
  • Inherited traits and genetics: The condition has a hereditary component. Researchers have linked the disease to multiple genes.
  • Race: Caucasian people are more likely to get macular degeneration.
  • Smoking cigarettes: If you smoke cigarettes or are constantly around tobacco smoke, your risk of macular degeneration increases considerably.
  • Being overweight: Research suggests that if you are obese, there may be a higher chance that your early or intermediate macular degeneration will progress to the more severe form of the disorder.
  • Heart-related disease: If you have, you may be at higher risk of developing macular degeneration.

Diagnosis Of Dry Macular Degeneration

Your eye doctor may diagnose your condition by reviewing your medical and family history in addition to doing a comprehensive eye exam. Additional testing could be conducted, like:

  • Examine the area behind your eyes: After inserting drops into your eyes to dilate them, your eye doctor will use a specialized tool to examine the back of your eye. When yellow deposits called drusen appear behind the retina and give the appearance of mottling, the ophthalmologist looks for them.
  • To observe if anything has altered in your area of vision: When performing an examination, your eye doctor may use an Amsler grid to look for changes in the center of your vision. If you have macular degeneration, some straight lines in the grid can look warped, faded, or broken.
  • Fluorescein-based angiogram: For this examination, your eye doctor will put a dye injection into a vein in your arm. As it gets there, the dye highlights the blood vessels in your eye. A dedicated camera takes numerous pictures as the dye flows through the blood vessels. Changes in blood vessels or the retina, as seen in the photos, are indicative of wet macular degeneration.
  • Indocyanine green angiography: Similar to fluorescein angiography, this diagnostic uses an injected dye. When combined with fluorescein angiography, it can be utilized to differentiate between various forms of macular degeneration.
  • The optical coherence tomography: This noninvasive imaging test displays possible regions of edema, thinning, or thickness in the retina. These could be caused by fluid buildup from leaking blood vessels in and under your retina.

For those with early-stage dry macular degeneration, there is no proof that taking these vitamins will be beneficial. Ask your ophthalmologist if you have to take any supplements.

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Treatment Of Dry Macular Degeneration

Reversing dry macular degeneration is not possible at this time. Clinical studies are still being conducted in large numbers. Getting diagnosed as soon as possible will help you stop your sickness from progressing further. There are several ways to aid with this, including stopping smoking, having a balanced diet, and taking vitamins.

Vitamins as supplements to boost vitamin intake

In patients with intermediate or severe illness, a high-potency combination of antioxidant vitamins and minerals may help lower the chance of visual impairment.

Treatments for reduced vision

Macular degeneration associated with aging usually does not cause complete blindness or worsen side vision. On the other hand, your central vision may be diminished or lost entirely. Central vision is necessary for reading, driving, and face recognition. Seeking treatment from an occupational therapist, low vision rehabilitation expert, eye physician, and other medical specialists with training in low vision rehabilitation can be advantageous for you. They can help you work out how to adapt to your changing vision.

Telescopic lens insertion surgery

For a subset of people with advanced dry macular degeneration in both eyes, surgery to implant a telescopic lens in one eye may be necessary to enhance vision. The telescopic lens, which looks like a tiny plastic tube, has lenses that broaden your field of vision. The telescopic lens implant may be helpful for both close-up and distant vision, despite having a somewhat narrow field of vision. Recognizing street signs could be very useful in an urban environment.

Prevention Of Dry Macular Degeneration

Getting routine eye exams is essential to detecting macular degeneration early on. Implementing the following measures will help reduce your risk of developing dry macular degeneration:

  • Treat all health problems: Take your medication as directed and follow your doctor's instructions to control conditions like high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, for example.
  • Avoid smoking: Smokers have an increased risk of macular degeneration in comparison to nonsmokers. To help you stop smoking, ask your doctor for help.
  • Do frequent exercise and maintain a healthy weight: If you're trying to lose weight, cut back on calories and increase your regular exercise.
  • Take a diet high in fruits and vegetables: These meals provide you with antioxidant vitamins that reduce your risk of macular degeneration.
  • Include fish in your diet: Omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish may reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Nuts such as walnuts are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Complications Of Dry Macular Degeneration

People with dry macular degeneration are more likely to develop central vision loss if they also experience social isolation and depression. Patients experiencing significant eyesight loss may have visual hallucinations. Charles Bonnet syndrome is the term used to describe this illness.  Wet macular degeneration, which can quickly cause visual loss, can develop from dry macular degeneration if therapy is not received.


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