What You Should Know About Dry Macular Degeneration

A potentially serious eye disease affecting people over 60, dry macular degeneration involves thinning and deterioration of the macula. In contrast to the retina, which sends incoming light signals to your brain, the macula is primarily responsible for your ability to see objects in your central vision field. The macula is also needed to perceive details in objects while the retina supports peripheral vision. To detect dry macular degeneration in its early stages, your Westchester optometrist urges adults over 50 to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year.

Signs of Dry Macular Degeneration

This painless eye disease progresses slowly and remains asymptomatic until the macula suffers permanent damage. Symptoms of dry macular degeneration, which can affect one or both eyes, include:

  • Blurriness/visual distortions (straight edges or lines may appear bent or wavy)
  • Reduction of central vision while peripheral vision remains intact
  • Needing brighter light to read or do detailed work
  • Trouble distinguishing similar colors from one another (blue from greenish blue, yellow from pale orange)

People with advanced dry macular degeneration may have trouble recognizing faces from a short distance and begin noticing a sharp difference in clarity between their peripheral and central vision fields. If you have one or more of these symptoms, please schedule an eye exam with your optometrist in Westchester today.

Cause of Dry Macular Degeneration

Aging is the most common reason for macular deterioration. Researchers also think dry macular degeneration may be genetic to a minor degree, with smoking and environmental factors contributing to the development of macular degeneration. Risk factors for dry macular degeneration include age, being obese and having cardiovascular disease or other disease that affects your circulatory system.

Treatment for Dry Macular Degeneration

Currently, no treatment is available to stop progression of dry macular degeneration or reverse vision impairment. In addition to monitoring the disease with regular eye exams, your optometrist will also recommend that you eat more foods rich in antioxidants (fresh fruits, spinach, kale) to delay progression of macular degeneration. Eating fatty fish containing omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce macular inflammation while supporting overall eye health. Also, avoid foods high in saturated fat and sugar and opt for low-fat foods instead.

If dry macular degeneration starts interfering with your vision, your Westchester eye doctor will suggest using visual aids such as magnifying or telescopic glasses you can wear as separate eyewear or as a clip-on device for people who already wear glasses.

Schedule an appointment today at Westchester Eye Care Center for a macular degeneration eye exam by calling (310) 670-1343.