What are the Risks if Macular Degeneration is Left Untreated?
Macular degeneration is a disease that’s most usually associated with advancing age. It’s generally known by the acronym of AMD, which stands for age-related macular degeneration.
While AMD doesn’t cause complete loss of sight, it can cause significant issues with your central vision. It’s a common condition. However, because the early stages are asymptomatic, there’s a significant risk that management and/or will be delayed if it’s not diagnosed during one of your regular eye examinations.
Everything You Need to Know about Macular Degeneration
- The different types of macular degeneration
- The risks of untreated macular degeneration
The different types of macular degeneration
The macular is a small area of the retina that sits at the back of the eye. This is a thin layer of cells that receive light signals from the outside world and transmit them to the brain, via the optic nerve. As we age, the retina gets thinner. Macular degeneration occurs when small proteins, known as drusen, get behind the macular and interrupt the transference of light to the brain.
There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet.
The most common type is dry, and it has three distinct stages—early, intermediate, and late.
- Early AMD: There are no symptoms
- Intermediate AMD: Some people still have no symptoms. Others get mild blurring of their central vision and/or difficulty seeing well in low light
- Late AMD: Straight lines appear wavy or crooked. Blurry areas might get larger, or you might have a blank area in the center of your vision. Colors can appear muted, and you might have more issues seeing well in low light.
Wet AMD is less common and is caused when abnormal blood vessels grow into the back of the eye, damaging the macula. Dry AMD can evolve into wet AMD at any time.
The risks of untreated macular degeneration
There are currently no treatments for late-stage dry AMD (although stem cell therapy is being explored and will likely bring future treatments). Now, management centers around making the most of your remaining eyesight, using visual aids, and—if you only have AMD in one eye—supporting the other eye.
However, this certainly doesn’t mean that nothing can be done if you’re diagnosed. Far from it.
Supplements are key to slowing the progression of the disease. A healthy lifestyle can also make a significant difference. There are various treatments for wet AMD, including both laser and injections, that can be extremely effective.
Failing to monitor or treat macular degeneration won’t cause you to go completely blind, but it will drastically affect your quality of life. Your central vision is what allows you to recognize people’s faces, thread a needle, read a book, etc.
Reducing your Macular Degeneration Risk
- Eye tests and lifestyle
Eye tests and lifestyle
There is plenty you can do to lower your risk of AMD. These include:
- Give up (or don’t start) smoking
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit, leafy veg, and fish
- Take regular physical exercise
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol within healthy levels (with the use of medication if you’ve been prescribed it)
- Have regular eye examinations
Millions of people live with AMD, so rest assured that a diagnosis, while worrying, doesn’t mean you’re going to go completely blind. In combination with a great eye doctor and careful management, there’s a good chance that you won’t suffer from any major symptoms.
Been Diagnosed or Worried about Macular Degeneration? Call the WBEC Today
As one of the country’s leading eye clinics, the West Boca Eye Center offers the latest cutting-edge treatments for AMD. As well as being able to slow the progression of the condition, we can help support your eyesight to ensure you benefit from your best possible vision, no matter how it progresses.
Your vision is so precious, and we should never take this for granted. As well as advanced treatments for conditions, such as AMD, our expert clinicians also champion regular eye tests to ensure any condition is picked up as early as possible.
Discover more about our macular degeneration treatments at https://westbocaeyecenter.com/services/macular-degeneration/