Macular Degeneration


MyeDoamin's Macular Degeneration

My eyesight has never been that good. I remember during my primary school years, I used to occupy the front seat because I could hardly read the lessons written on the blackboard. At first, I was reluctant to have my eyes checked and I just felt uncomfortable wearing eyeglasses. I never realized that it would lead to a more serious condition.

From then on, I had no other choice but to use corrective glasses and contact lenses. I was hopeful that my vision would get better, but the worst happened and now that I'm on my early 40's, I'm even more afraid to lose my sight.

Based on my earlier diagnosis and eye exams, I have a left lazy eye and my right eye suffers from high myopia and high astigmatism. I have visited several eye specialists and they have the same findings. One ophthalmologist even told me that my eyes easily age and that the cause of this condition maybe congenital in nature. I had that scar in my retina upon birth. There is a possibility of retinal detachment if not properly treated. But for now, I think I have this so called macular degeneration.



WHAT IS MACULAR DEGENERATION?

Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss in Americans over the age of 60. It is estimated that 10 million Americans will experience this age-related visual impairment during their retirement years.
Macular degeneration is a disorder of the retina, the light-sensitive inner lining of the back of the eye. The macula is a small, central portion of the retina which is necessary for sharp, "straight ahead" vision needed for reading, driving a car or recognizing faces.
There are a number of abnormalities associated with the term "age-related macular degeneration." They range from mild changes with no decrease in vision to abnormalities severe enough to result in the loss of all "straight ahead" vision.
Macular degeneration does not cause total blindness because the remaining and undamaged parts of the retina around the macula continue to provide "side" vision.
There are two main types of macular degeneration, "dry" and "wet," both are discussed in the next section.


WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Aging causes the cells in the retina to become less efficient. Ultimately, deposits called drusen appear under the retina and can be seen during an eye examination and on photographs of the retina . A few small drusen may cause no decrease in vision (photo 1). However, if too many large drusen develop, vision will decrease (photo 2). Vision may also be affected when there are disturbances in the layer of cells below the retina called the retinal pigment epithelium. These two types of changes are known as "dry" and "wet" macular degeneration.  Dry is the most common form and currently, there are no known treatments for dry AMD.


I am not yet seeing an ophthalmologist now but I have plans for another series of eye exams and extensive consultation.