Macular Degeneration: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatments

Macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that gets progressively worse over time if left untreated. It is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50-years old. The medical cause of macular degeneration occurs when the macula in your retina weakens overtime. There are two main types of macular degeneration, including dry (or atrophic) and wet (neovascular or exudative). Most AMD starts dry and becomes wet as it worsens.

It is important to understand the symptoms, the in-depth causes, and preventive measures so you or your family member will know how to deal with AMD in the future.

1. Early warning symptoms of macular degeneration

Your eye doctor will see the signs of macular degeneration or what is also known as age related macular degeneration (or wet AMD). They will tell you what symptoms to look for as well. Some of the symptoms can be blurry vision, straight lines look wavy or distorted, trouble reading in low light settings, and heightened sensitivity to glare and light.

2. Causes of macular degeneration

As previously mentioned, wet macular degeneration is caused by a weakened macula area in the retina. However, professionals do not know what causes the weakening of the retina. Some researchers suggest that it can be a combination of hereditary and environmental causes. Developing unhealthy habits such as smoking and having a bad diet can cause macular degeneration to affect your vision rapidly.

3. Risk of macular degeneration

Certain factors make you have a higher risk of developing macular degeneration. You are more likely to develop it if you are over the age of 50, have a family history of it, you are of Caucasian descent, you are a smoker, you have cardiovascular disease or you may be obese. All of these factors have been determined by researchers and eye physicians to help persons who suffer from this severe disease. Also, if you have any of these factors you should visit an eye physician as soon as possible so you can go through the correct preventive measures. If you ignore these risks, then the progression of the disease will increase at a fast rate and you will go blind.

4. New macular degeneration treatments

There are some new treatments for persons who suffer macular degeneration. The drug BEOVU (brolucizumab-dbll) is an injection treatment. It’s the fourth anti-VEGF drug treatment that is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The other three drugs available on the market are Eylea (Regeneron), Lucentis (Genentech), and the generic brand Avastin (Genentech). BEOVU is similar to the other brands because it includes a recommended weekly and monthly dose schedule for the first five to six months. This new medicine provides additional options for patients and physicians.

5. Macular degeneration prevention

It is important to take preventive measures, especially, if you have a family history of macular degeneration. One way to prevent developing this condition is by routinely visiting your eye doctor and getting an eye exam. The physician will tell you what you need to do or stop doing and will prescribe medicine to slow down the progression of the disease. Some of the things that you can do on your own such as quit smoking, have a diet full of fruits and vegetables, include Omega-3 supplements in your diet, and make a routine of exercising. If you need assistance to accomplish these objectives, then ask your doctor for help.