Located in the center of the retina, the sensitive macula provides us with sight in the center of our field of vision. When we look directly at something, the macula allows us to see the fine details. This sharp, straight-ahead vision is necessary for driving, reading , recognizing faces, and doing close work, such as sewing.
The two common types of macular degeneration are dry and wet. The dry form accounts for 90% of cases and is caused by aging and thinning of the tissues of the macula. It develops slowly and usually causes mild vision loss. People often notice a dimming of vision when they read.
Wet macular degeneration is a much greater threat to vision loss even though it accounts for only 10% of cases. With the wet form of the disease, new blood vessels grow beneath the retina where they leak fluid and blood and can create a large blind spot in the center of your visual field. If this happens, there will be a marked disturbance of vision.
Although it’s more common for people over 60, it is possible to develop symptoms in your 40’s or 50’s. Macular degeneration often runs in families. Symptoms can include:
If you experience any of these symptoms in either one or both eyes, schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist for an examination immediately.