Macular degeneration is the damage or breakdown of the macula (the central point of the retina at the back of the eye). While the central part of vision is affected, the peripheral, or side vision is not affected. Macular Degeneration alone will not result in total blindness. There are two types of macular degeneration: atrophic ("dry") and exudative ("wet").
The condition will be hardly noticeable in its early stages but when both eyes are affected reading and close-up work become difficult. Other symptoms are: colors look dim, the words toward the center of a page look blurred while the edges are clear, straight lines look distorted, and a dark or empty area appears in the center of vision.
Many people develop macular degeneration as part of the natural process of aging. Other causes include heredity, injury, infection, inflammation, tobacco use,or extreme nearsightedness.
While there is no cure for macular degeneration, the risk of vision loss from the disease can be reduced by as much as 50%, by taking certain vitamin formulas. Please see your practitioner for precise recommendations. Low vision optical devices, such as magnifying devices, large-print reading materials, and special lighting, may aid in minimizing effects of the condition.
Treatment for the exudative form of macular degeneration may also include laser surgery and/or photodynamic therapy, or PDT. PDT is a newer form of laser treatment that involves using an intravenous dye that reacts to the laser.