Preserving Your Eyes: The Facts on Macular Degeneration

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  • Category: Eyecare
Elderly Eye Care - Hendersonville

Aging is often a frightening prospect for seniors. One of the senses seniors fear losing most is their vision, and they have good reason to feel this way. Good vision is needed for almost any everyday task in a person’s life, from dressing and grooming oneself to cooking, cleaning, and caring for pets. Seniors often face eye problems like macular degeneration, but they don’t have to succumb to it. Today, we’ll go over what macular degeneration is and how to prevent it.


What Is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration occurs when the retina can no longer send light to the brain as effectively as it used to. This harms the macula, or the part of the retina that allows seniors to see fine detail like words in a book or the median strip. As this nerve tissue deteriorates, vision becomes increasingly blurry. Macular degeneration usually affects people sixty and over.

People can get one of two macular degeneration types, dry or wet. Dry macular degeneration occurs when drusen, or yellow deposits under the retina, cause blurred vision. Your vision will gradually decrease and you may see blurred spots in your eyes. Vision can be lost in both eyes, but this type of degeneration can also affect one eye without harming the other.

Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and break or leak fluid. The fluid raises the macula from its normal spot in the back of the eye, causing straight lines to appear wavy as the rest of the vision blurs. Wet macular degeneration is more severe than dry and can be much more dangerous, especially when driving. If you suspect you have wet degeneration, contact an eye doctor immediately.


Preventing Macular Degeneration 

Macular degeneration is a serious condition but can be prevented. Routine eye exams are the best preventative measure. In addition, maintain good nutrition. Eat plenty of colorful foods, especially orange, red, and yellow fruits and vegetables like carrots or tomatoes. These won’t help you see in the dark, but they do contain carotenoid pigments essential for good vision. Squash, broccoli, and kale are beneficial, as well.

Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight is not only uncomfortable for your joints and stomach, but can also lead to eye, ear, and other problems. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible; smokers are four times more likely to experience macular degeneration. If you already have the condition, consider taking vitamin supplements like vitamin E or beta-caratine to help improve your eyesight.