Macular Degeneration - Most Common in Diabetics Over 50

Age related macular degeneration is an eye disease that affects one out of every three people over the age of 75 and it is the leading cause of severe vision loss in these individuals. Although this particular eye disease is commonly diagnosed in diabetics over the age of 50, it can affect and sometimes do affect diabetics and others who are in there early 40s.

The macula which is a specialized area of the retina, that gives us the ability to distinguish fine details such as reading or recognizing colors.

It is about the size of an eraser on a pencil and it appears yellowish in color.

Macular degeneration as we know it, is a vision loss condition of the retina.

We can go as far as saying that it is a deterioration of the light sensitive layer of the eye in older adults.

This eye condition greatly affects the central vision that we use for:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Driving
  • Recognizing faces

This particular eye disease progresses very slowly in some diabetics and non-diabetics. Because of its slow progression, the vision of the individual may not be affected as they get older. However for some, the progression of macular degeneration can be very quick which can lead to severe vision loss in one or both eyes.

The causes of age related macular degeneration are unknown but they are believed to be inherited genetically. The disease can often be found in families, as was suggested by a recent study that was conducted on twins. The study showed that the causes of macula deterioration are significantly linked to some genetic factors.

Types of macular degeneration

There are two types of AMD conditions. These different forms of AMD are classified as follows:

  • The dry type - Most people that have been diagnosed with age related AMD, have this particular type. This condition affects the light sensitive layer of the eye (retina). Symptoms of this stage of macula deterioration, show up in the form of tiny yellowish deposits called drusen underneath the macula of the eye.
  • The wet type - This is the more severe one of the two. We can go as far as saying that it is a more severe progression of the dry form. Only a small percentage of all diabetics diagnosed, have this type.

    Unfortunately this one is responsible for about 90 percent of all vision loss related to this type of eye disease. At this stage, the tiny yellowish deposits drusen are much larger and are more in numbers.

Statistics revealed that there are close to 1.7 million older Americans who have been diagnosed with macular degeneration. Although most of these individuals are diagnosed with the dry type, their condition can progress to the more severe one (the wet form). This progression is caused by the growth of newly formed tiny blood vessel which are very fragile and abnormal in the eye.

These new blood vessels, often burst and cause blood to leak into the eye under the macula. Because of this new problem, further deterioration of the cells of the macula occurs; thus, causing vision loss in the diabetic or non diabetic individual.

Conditions that can cause macular deterioration

Other factors that contribute to the development of macular degeneration are as follows:

  • blood pressure.
  • Vascular disease.
  • Smoking.
  • The age of an individual.
  • Ethnic background (Race).
  • High consumption of saturated fats.
  • High blood cholesterol.
  • Hyperopia (far sightedness).
  • Family history of the disease.
  • Constant exposure to sunlight.

Known symptoms of macular degeneration

Symptoms that show degeneration of macula part of the eye, may not show up during its initial or early stages of development. However as the disease progresses, diabetics and non-diabetics may begin to experience or show the symptoms that are known to be associated with macula deterioration. These symptoms include:

  • Distortion of straight lines (usually the first sign of this particular eye disease).
  • A change in color perception.
  • Change in your central vision that may appear dark, white or blurry.

Treatment of this diabetic eye disease

There is no present cure for age related macular degeneration but there are several treatment options that are available--which may prove effective in preventing severe vision loss or in slowing down the progression of the eye disease.

These particular treatment options include:

  • Laser therapy.
  • Proper vitamins.
  • Photo-dynamic laser therapy. This is a two step treatment program that involves the use of a light sensitive drug. This light sensitive drug will help in the removal of the abnormal blood vessels underneath the macula.
  • Anti-angiogenesis drugs. These are drugs that slow or prevent the growth of the tiny, fragile, abnormal blood vessels in the eye.
  • Low vision aids that will make objects appear larger.
  • Anti-VEGF drugs.
  • These drugs target a specific chemical in a diabetic person that is responsible for causing the growth of the abnormal blood vessels. They block the problem causing VEGF causing a reduction in the growth of the tiny abnormal blood vessels; thus, slowing the leakage into the macula.

Experimental treatments for this diabetic eye disease

Presently there are two additional treatments that, according doctors are in the experimental stage. These new treatments may prove very affective in macular degeneration control. These experimental treatments are as follows:

  • Submacular surgery. This particular treatment involves removing the tiny abnormal blood vessels surgically.
  • Retinal translocation. This also is a surgical procedure that is used to destroy the tiny abnormal blood vessels that are positioned directly under the center of the macula. This particular surgical procedure is used because a laser beam is extremely unsafe to use at this point in the treatment.

    However, in this particular procedure the center of the macula is moved away from the abnormal blood vessels.

    The move is to a more healthier part of the retina before the doctor proceeds with laser therapy.

    The laser therapy is used to remove or destroy the abnormal blood vessels. This particular technique will prevent the formation of any scar tissues or any further damage to the retina.

Diabetics and non-diabetics a like--who are are over the age of 40 and have a family history of macular deterioration is at greater risks of developing this eye disease. Therefore these individuals, should get regular eye exams because the earlier any vision problems are detected, the earlier all possible treatments can begin.

Also, according to statistics, Ophthalmologists may not be able to prevent but they can control age related macular degeneration.

Do you have Macular Degeneration? Then Get your VisiVite vitamins now!

Macular degeneration is an eye disease that is similar to cataracts

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