Understanding Macular Degeneration
AMD, age-related macular degeneration, is the most common cause of vision loss and is considered incurable. It is caused by the weakening of the central portion of the retina. When the macular works properly, it shows you detailed images at the center of your field of vision. When the cells begin to deteriorate then the images aren’t received correctly. It is important to get an optometry exam at Wally Kojima, O.D. and Associates in Kailua-Kona, especially if you have risk factors for the disease.
Types of Macular Degeneration
There are two different types of macular degeneration. These types are wet and dry. Many cases are dry macular degeneration. There is a form of macular degeneration found in younger people called Stargardt disease that is caused by a recessive gene.
Who Is at Risk for Macular Degeneration?
Although anyone can develop macular degeneration, there are risk factors that can increase your chances of getting it. This condition is most common in people over 50-years-old. Studies have shown that macular degeneration runs in families. If one of your parents has the condition, there is a higher chance of you getting it as well. Macular degeneration is most common in Caucasians. Studies have also shown that people who are overweight or obese have a higher chance of getting macular degeneration. Smoking cigarettes or being exposed to second-hand smoke can increase your chances of getting macular degeneration.
Stages of Macular Degeneration
There are three different stages of macular degeneration. In the early stage, most people don’t begin to experience vision loss during this stage. It’s important to have regular eye exams to diagnose this. In the intermediate stage, there can be some vision loss but not many other noticeable symptoms. In the late stage, vision loss will become very noticeable.
Causes and Risk Factors
The specific factors that cause this disease aren’t known. Scientists believe the causes can be both environmental and hereditary. Scientists are working to see what causes the cells of the macular to deteriorate and how they can help future patients.
The biggest risk factor is age. As you get older, your risk increases for macular degeneration and the disease is more likely to occur in those who are 55 or older. Other risk factors can include a history of smoking, ultraviolet light exposure, race, and genetics. Those who already have a family history of the disease are at higher risk. Smoking can double this risk.
Contact Us to See How We Can Help in Kailua-Kona
Vitamins and minerals can also help with treating the condition. However, the key to success in dealing with the problem is early detection. Wally Kojima, O.D. and Associates offers the type of optometric services needed to detect macular degeneration and other vision disorders. Schedule an appointment at our Kailua-Kona location to help you improve your vision.