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Macular Degeneration Q & A

Aging may leave you more susceptible to health conditions, requiring routine checkups with your doctor.

If your vision begins to interfere with daily tasks such as reading or driving, you may be affected by the eye disease macular degeneration. Dr. Mary Espy is a board-certified general and medical optometrist who is extensively qualified to diagnose this condition. Schedule an appointment at her office in Flint, Michigan, by calling or requesting online.

What is macular degeneration?

As this eye disease coincides with aging, macular degeneration is also often referred to as age-related macular degeneration. It’s the leading cause of vision loss among senior patients and is considered a severe eye disease that involves the deterioration of the retina.

While there’s no cure, Dr. Espy can alleviate the condition and its side effects through various treatment methods, medications, or vision aids.

There are two main categories of macular degeneration:

Dry form

The dry form is the most common type of macular degeneration. It’s characterized by yellowish deposits, called drusen, that accumulate in the macula and may not affect your vision at first. As they begin to multiply in advanced stages, they distort your vision and produce blind spots.

Wet form

Only about 10-15% of macular degeneration cases constitute the wet form. It involves the abnormal growth of blood vessels, which causes them to leak blood and fluid into the retina. At first, this process distorts your vision, but the bleeding eventually scars and leads to a permanent loss of central vision.

What are risk factors for macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration mostly affects older adults over the age of 60. However, the disease may also run in families. Other risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Being female
  • Having a light eye color

Discuss your risk factors with Dr. Espy and any concerns you may have about being susceptible to macular degeneration.

What are symptoms of macular degeneration?

Like many eye conditions, macular degeneration may not produce any early symptoms until it progresses to more advanced stages or begins affecting both eyes.

An initial indication may be blurred vision with a dim spot in the center of your eyesight. This spot tends to increase in size and become darker over time.

Other notable symptoms of macular degeneration include:

  • Dark, blurry areas in the center of vision
  • Diminished or changed color perception

Schedule a visit with Dr. Mary Espy as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms.