When the central portion of the retina (or the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain) deteriorates, this is called Macular Degeneration. It is considered an incurable disease and the leading cause of vision loss, more than cataracts and glaucoma combined. There are two types of Macular Degeneration: approximately 85% to 90% of the cases are “dry” (atrophic) type, while 10-15% are “wet” (exudative) type. There are three stages of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). First is the Early AMD where most people do not experience vision loss yet which is why regular eye exams are important. Early AMD is diagnosed by the presence of medium-sized drusen (yellow deposits beneath the retina). Next is the Intermediate AMD. There may be some vision loss but still may not be obvious symptoms. A full eye exam will look for larger drusen or yellow deposits in the retina. Last stage is the Late AMD where vision loss has become noticeable. No one knows exactly what causes dry macular degeneration. But research indicates it may be related to a combination of heredity and environmental factors, including smoking and diet. The following list shows the symptoms to watch out for in Macular Degeneration.
1. Smudged vision
Because of the deterioration of the macula, vision seems to be smudged. When there are smudges in vision, there is immediate and often temporary impairment experienced. The smudges are caused by the damages to the macula. These smudges make images that are supposed to be perceived by the eye to be clear and sharp to blend together and loss distinction between themselves. Perception of shape is also affected. Central eyesight is affected because this is where the blur and smudge generally occur. The person suffering then starts to rely to peripheral eye sight to function normally.