ABOUT MACULAR DEGENERATION: AN OVERVIEW

Macular degeneration is a common eye disease that causes deterioration of the macula, the central area of the retina, the paper-thin tissue at the back of the eye where light-sensitive cells send visual signals to the brain. Sharp, clear, “straight ahead” vision is processed by the macula. Damage to the macula results in the development of blind spots and blurred or distorted vision.

Most articles you will see on the internet refer to age-related macular degeneration, as it is most commonly associated with aging, but it is important to remember that diet, lifestyle and genetics play a role in the formation of this disease. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness for people over the age of 50 in the Western world, affecting approximately 25-30 million people.

There are two forms of macular degeneration “wet form” and “dry form“.

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The Dry Form:

Patients with “dry” form macular degeneration experience central retinas that have become distorted, pigmented, or most commonly thinned.

With dry macular degeneration, the bad news is that once the retina has disappeared, it cannot be replaced. It is as if the film (retina) in your ocular camera (eye) has developed a hole in the middle. We are not yet able to transplant the retina of one patient to another.

The “silver lining” for most patients with dry macular degeneration is that most patients lose their central vision very slowly, and that many patients keep most of their vision. In general, patients with dry macular degeneration don’t go blind, though they can have poor central vision.

The Wet Form:

The “wet” form of macular degeneration is a more serious disease. Patients with wet macular degeneration can develop abnormal blood vessels under their retina. These blood vessels are like wires with bad insulation. They leak their contents under and into the retina [serum (fluid), blood cells, and fats]. When eye-care specialists look at a macula affected by wet macular degeneration, they see these fats, fluid and/or red blood cells.Like a cut on your arm, the blood and fluid will eventually dry and leave a scar in the macula. Since this scar occurs in the center of vision, it creates a black or grey spot in the vision called a scotoma.

Patients with wet macular degeneration usually have multiple episodes of new blood vessel formation. This can cause several episodes of leakage and bleeding into the macula. Therefore, any treatment that does not fix the underlying cause of this new blood vessel formation and leakage will only provide temporary help for most patients.

Macular Degeneration and the Impact on your Lifestyle

When the macula becomes damaged, many daily activities such as driving and reading become increasingly difficult. People with macular degeneration are often surprised and frustrated to find out how little is known about the causes and treatment of this blinding condition.

Early Detection is the Key

There is no 100% successful cure for macular degeneration – only treatments to prevent the condition from worsening. That is why early detection is vital. Tools such as the C.A.S.A Vision Eye Chart are essential to assisting with the maintenance of your vision and early detection of the “wet” form of macular degeneration. You can detect changes in your vision using the C.A.S.A Vision Eye Chart to test your vision.

Scientific study

Comparing the screening accuracy of CASA vision screener and the amsler grid in age-related macular degeneration.

Clinical article

A new way to detect AMD.

Negative Effects of Blue Light

Sources of blue light include the sun, digital screens (TVs, computers, laptops, smart phones and tablets), electronic devices, and fluorescent and LED lighting.

Negative Effects: Blue – Violet Visible Light

  • Digital Eye Strain
  • Melatonin suppression leading to sleepin disorders
  • Greater risk of certain types of cancers
  • Greater risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes
  • May cause permanent eye damage and increase the risk of AMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration)

Human Biological Clock Pupillary Reflex

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