Affecting approximately two million people in the United States, and beginning with yellow deposits under the choroid, Macular Degeneration is the result of damages that may detach the retinas changing light and images entering the eyes into nerve signals sent to the brain, resulting in vision losses in the visual field.
Several factors may affect the onset of Macular Degeneration including such things as the age of the patient, especially if they are sixty-five years old or older, their family histories, mutations of the SERPING1, Fibulin-5, and Adenosine Tri-Phosphate Synthase 615.1617 genes, mutations of the Factor B, Factor 3, and CFH Factor H complement control proteins associated with the Alternative Pathway, high blood pressure, hypertension, high cholesterol, high fat intake, oxidative stress, being Caucasion because the disease is prevalent in the Race, being female, Blue Light and High-Energy Visible (HEV) light radiation exposures, and smoking tobacco, considered by many medical experts to be the single most important modifiable factor in preventing the disease.
Various symptoms often associated with Macular Degeneration may include drusens, the buildup of tiny white or yellow extracellular material accumulations in the Bruch’s Membrane of the choroid containing connective tissues between the retinas and the scleras, or whites, of the eyes. Other symptoms of the disease may include pigmentary alterations, eye hemorrhages, incipient and geographic atrophies, decreased visual acuities, blurred vision, scotomas, distorted vision that makes straight lines appear wavy or partially missing, the inability to distinguish colors, slow visual function recoveries after exposures to bright lights, and contrast sensitivity losses.
Macular Degeneration may be detected through fluorescent angiographics that localize and identify abnormal vascular processes and by Optical Coherence Tomographies that provide cross-sectional images of tissues at near-microscopic resolutions.
Macular Degeneration, by itself, will not result in total blindness, and may be accompanied by complicating conditions such as severe strokes, untreated glaucoma, and eye traumas, with the peripheral field of vision unaffected by the disease in most cases, however, losing vision in the central field typically eliminates the possibility of reading and makes shadows, contours, and color vision less vivid to the patient.
Central Geographic Atrophy:
The “dry” form of Age-Related Macular Degeneration occurs because of atrophy to the epithelial layer of the retinal pigment, creating the loss of photoreceptors in the central portion of the eyes, with normal tissues in the macula disappearing and the area becoming pale. Although no surgical or medical procedures, or beta-carotene, have been shown to have any benefits for treating the disease, according to the National Eye Institute, this progress may be slowed by high doses of antioxidents, vitamin supplements, zinc, eating three pieces of fruit a day, Zeaxanthin, Lutein, and by Macugen injections every six weeks that inhibit vascular endothelial growth factors in the blood vessels of the eyes.
Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration:
The “wet” form of Age-Related Macular Degeneration is caused by abnormal blood vessel growth in the choriocapillaris next to the Bruch’s Membrane in the choroid leading to blood leaks below the macula that create irreversible damages to photoreceptors and rapid loss of vision if untreated. Monthly anti-angiogenic drug injections in the vitreous humor of the eyes, including Macugen, Lucentis, and Avastin may regress the blood vessels and improve vision. Photodynamic therapies that deliver light directly to tissues being treated are also used for the “wet” form of Macular Degeneration.
Amsler Grid Test:
Shown on graph paper with dark lines that form a square grid the Amsler Grid Test may result in an early warning signal of the onset of Macular Degeneration, a critically important step in helping doctors determine if laser treatments could be successful before damages from the disease occur.
While Macular Degeneration may result in legal blindness many adaptive devices such as special eyeglass lenses, magnifying glasses, computer screen readers, desktop units, classes for independent living, and resources from the state the patient resides in are available to assist them in using their remaining vision for many activities.
National Eye Institute
31 Center Drive MSC 2510
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-2510
This Article was compiled from several websites that provide much more information about Macular Degeneration including: