What is Macular Degeneration? What Are the Risk Factors? What Can I do?


(Pictured: What your vision can look like, with macular degeneration.)

There are generally 2 types of macular degeneration; dry and wet. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Dry macular degeneration is marked by deterioration of the macula (MAK-u-luh), which is in the center of the retina. The layer of tissue on the inside back wall of your eyeball. Wet macular degeneration — is characterized by blood vessels that grow under the retina in the back of the eye, leaking blood and fluid.” According to the National Institutes of Health, macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Americans 60 and older.

Risk Factors include:

-Age: Risk increases with age, especially after 50.
-Smoking: Smoking cigarettes greatly increases the risk of developing macular degeneration
-Family History
-Race: The leading cause of blindness in the US with aging caucasians.
-Gender/Women: This may partially be due to women living longer
-Obesity/Unhealthy Diet
-Sun Exposure: Prolonged sun exposure without UV protection sunglasses can increase the risk of macular degeneration progressing more severely to those at high risk

What Can You Do About it?

-Have Your Eyes Examined: Diagnosis in early stages can be key. There also have been tremendous advances in technology in treating macular degeneration.
-Stop Smoking
-Control Your Diet
-Have a Diet balanced in Antioxidants and Omega 3 Fish Oil: Consult with your primary care doctor or dietitian about diet changes.
-Check your Family History

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me. Have a great day!

About Eyedrbarnstein

Dr. Richard Barnstein is an optometrist / partner with Professional Vision in the Baltimore area. ( Timonium and Carney ) Professional Vision is a boutique eyecare practice, with fashionable designer frames and sunglasses. We have an eye doctor available for eye appointments for contacts, comprehensive eye exams, and treatment of eye emergencies 6 days a week, at Timonium & Carney. Dr. Richard Barnstein, a Baltimore native, graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (now Salus University) in 1994. He attended James Madison University (1987-90) where he was accepted early into optometry school. Dr. Barnstein is therapeutically licensed to treat eye disease, and diagnoses and manages glaucoma. He also specializes in difficult contact lens fittings, dry eye disease, and LASIK co-management. Dr. Richard Barnstein is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Maryland Optometric Association. Dr. Richard Barnstein enjoys spending time with his wife, 2 children, and puppy goldendoodle. He's an avid Ravens, Terps, and Orioles fan, and loves live music. Profession Vision on Twitter Dr. Richard Barnstein on Twitter Check out Dr. Barnstein's Live Music and Sports Blog, Farmerstanproductions!
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