Macular degeneration (MD) affects over 11 million Americans today. This number is even more considerable than glaucoma and cataract patients combined, and the reason why macular degeneration has been listed as the leading cause of vision loss in the U.S. There are two types of MD—dry and wet, with the latter carrying the most significant number of patients.
The main cause of macular degeneration is the deterioration of the principal part of the retina—which is the back layer of the eye responsible for decoding images sent to the brain via the optic nerve. The central part of the retina, also known as the macular, is responsible for eye focusing. Hence, it controls your ability to read, recognize objects, drive, and focus on other things in fine detail. With that in mind, let’s examine the warning signs of macular degeneration:
1. Difficulty recognizing faces
Macular degeneration affects your vision. This means that it affects your ability to see objects clearly, including other peoples’ faces. Also, this affects how the image is sent to the brain as well as how it is decoded. This can be very embarrassing, especially when you can’t recognize your relative or a close friend when passing them on the street.
2. Difficulty reading or seeing details in low light
Another early warning sign of macular degeneration is when you find that you require brighter lights to carry on duties that you previously did without. With this vision complication, you might require more light when reading, walking, driving, cooking, or taking on other day-to-day tasks.
3. Extra sensitivity to glare
Patients with macular degeneration are often unable to adjust their sight to changing light levels, especially when walking or driving during sunrise or sunset. Also, you might experience some vision difficulties when you move from a well-lit room to a darker one. For instance, if you are in a room with a strong sunlight shaft through the window or another hole, your vision might black out.
4. Blurred or fuzzy vision
Blurred vision is the most common symptoms of macular degeneration. This occurs when cells within the macular aren’t able to function as required. This will make macular degeneration patients see fewer details of objects in front of them, like faces or scriptures. But most often, the blurry will go off in brighter rooms. If the complication progresses, the patients might notice a small gray or black blind spot at the center of their field of vision.
5. Straight lines that appear wavy or distorted
Another sure warning sign of MD is when you start seeing straight lines as wavy or curved. You can successfully check this by interchangeably looking at a door frame or a venetian blind.
6. Blurred words on a printed page
With this condition, it becomes challenging to not only see textures or subtle changes in the environment, but also you see words on a printed page as blurred. This can mean an uphill task when reading, watching texts on screens, or connecting words in a sentence.
The most effective and common treatment for the wet MD is the macular degeneration needle treatment or the anti-VEGF therapy—the vascular endothelial growth factor. This is a protein that enhances the growth of blood vessels when you need them the most.