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A Look Into Macular Degeneration

Despite being leading cause of blindness and vision loss in patients over the age of 65, many are still unfamiliar with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). By taking a closer look at this condition, you can  become better prepared to seek treatment should signs of this disease begin to show.

What Exactly is Macular Degeneration?

AMD is a condition that affects the eyes, and is more common than many realize. It develops due to damage to the macula, a small spot located near the retina responsible for creating sharp, central vision and allowing people to see straight ahead.

In most cases, macular degeneration progresses slowly. Vision loss does not occur for several years, often 10 or more. However, some people experience vision loss at a faster rate, resulting in vision loss in one or both eyes. During the early stages, vision often becomes blurred, and the blurred area becomes larger over time. Complete blindness isn’t caused by AMD, but its impact on central vision makes simple daily activities difficult for the patient, as the ability to see faces, drive, read books, write, cook, do housework, and similar activities are impacted.

The Importance of the Macula

The macula, which is part of the retina, is made up of millions of light-sensing cells that work together to create sharp central vision. The macula is located at the back of the eye, and sends signals through the retina and into the brain’s optic nerve. When the macula is damaged, the signals are disrupted, leading to blurry, disordered, or dark vision.

Risk Factors

AMD is an age related condition, occurring most often in patients over the age of 60. However, it can occur before 60, and there are additional factors that put people at risk. Some risk factors known to cause macular degeneration include smoking, genetics and race.

For More Information about Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Contact Dr. Stefano.

Early detection is key to preventing the progression of AMD, so contact us today if you think you may be at risk. Our offices are located in Winchester, serving Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland, and you can reach us directly at (540) 722-6200. We look forward to hearing from you!

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