This is one of the few eye diseases that still challenges the eye care industry although recent research is offering a glimpse of hope. Macular degeneration is a disease that has the potential to cause loss of central vision. The cause of macular degeneration is not truly understood, but it typically does not occur until our later years. It is the leading cause of blindness in America.
The part of our eye that we use for central vision is a specialized area of the retina called the macula. Our central vision is vital for driving and reading. At your annual eye examination, your eye doctor will check for warning signs of macular degeneration such as drusen. These are little deposits that may cause future vision problems.
There are two forms of macular degeneration. Most patients with this disease have the dry form. In about ten percent of the cases, patients will progress from the dry form to the wet form of the disease which tends to be much more visually significant.
Regular eye examinations, good nutrition, and cessation of smoking are vital to helping slow down macular degeneration as well as detecting it. Although there is presently no cure for macular degeneration, there is research being done with medication and lasers to help slow down the progression in the wet form.