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Macular Degeneration

Understanding Macular Degeneration

AMD, age-related macular degeneration, is the most common cause of vision loss and is considered incurable. It is caused by the weakening of the central portion of the retina. When the macular works properly, it shows you detailed images at the center of your field of vision. When the cells begin to deteriorate, the images aren’t received correctly. It is essential to get an eye exam from our optometrists at Pathway Eye, especially if you have risk factors for the disease. We can help you at our Athens, Madison, Rogersville, Downtown Chattanooga, Collegedale, or Huntsville location.


Types of Macular Degeneration

There are two different types of macular degeneration, wet and dry. The most common cases are dry macular degeneration. There is a form of macular degeneration found in younger people called Stargardt disease that is caused by a recessive gene.

Who Is at Risk for Macular Degeneration?

Although anyone can develop macular degeneration, there are risk factors that can increase your chances of getting it. This condition is most common in people over 50-years-old. Studies have shown that macular degeneration runs in families. If one of your parents has the disease, there is a higher chance of you getting it as well. Macular degeneration is most common in Caucasians. Studies have also shown that overweight or obese people have a higher chance of getting macular degeneration. Smoking cigarettes or being exposed to second-hand smoke can increase your chances of getting macular degeneration.

Stages of Macular Degeneration

There are three different stages of macular degeneration. Most people don’t begin to experience vision loss during this early stage. It’s essential to have regular eye exams to diagnose this. There can be some vision loss in the intermediate stage but not many other noticeable symptoms. In the late stage, vision loss will become very apparent.

Causes and Risk Factors

The specific factors that cause this disease aren’t known. Scientists believe the causes can be both environmental and hereditary. Scientists are working to see what causes the macular cells to deteriorate and how they can help future patients.

The most significant risk factor is age. As you get older, your risk increases for macular degeneration and the disease is more likely to occur in those who are 55 or older. Other risk factors include a history of smoking, race, and genetics. Those who already have a family history of the disease are at higher risk. Smoking can double this risk.

Contact Us to See How Our Eye Doctors Can Help in Athens, Madison, Rogersville, Downtown Chattanooga, Collegedale, or Huntsville, AL

Vitamins and minerals can also help with treating the condition. However, the key to success in dealing with the problem is early detection. Pathway Eye offers optometry services needed to detect macular degeneration and other vision disorders. Schedule an appointment with our optometrists in Athens, Madison, Rogersville, Downtown Chattanooga, Collegedale, or Huntsville to help you improve your vision.