Age- related macular degeneration is a common eye condition that usually occurs in people over the age of 50. It is the leading cause of vision loss in the older adult population. This eye condition gradually destroys the macula of the eye, which is the part of the eye that provides central vision. Although macular degeneration causes limited central vision, it codes not cause blindness. A person with macular degeneration would still be able to see through the peripheral vision, or side vision.
Usually, age-related macular degeneration progresses slowly over time. On occasion, though, the condition may progress quickly and lead to vision loss in either one or both eyes. The resulting vision would cause difficulties in face recognition, driving a car, and doing close up work such as sewing or fixing things.
The risk of macular degeneration increases with the aging process. Other risk factors may include smoking, family history and race. Caucasians are found to develop macular degeneration moreso than the African race. Additionally, lifestyle choices may positively impact good health and lower the risk of certain eye conditions. Such choices include smoking cessation, daily exercise, maintaining a normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and eating a well-balanced diet that is rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish.
Although routine eye exams are always encouraged, macular degeneration can only be identified with a dilated eye examination. By using a special magnifying lens, your eye doctor can look at the retina and optic nerves in your eye for signs of eye problems.
For more information on age related macular degeneration, check out the Macular Degeneration Foundation, Inc. website .