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Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of macular degeneration

Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration

Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of macular degeneration

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Macular degeneration is a disorder of the eyes, which is most commonly observed in the elderly and hence is called ‘age-related macular degeneration’ (AMD). It is characterized by gradual, painless, central vision loss in both eyes. The central part of the visual field is lost and the person can see the peripheral field of vision. This is a progressive disease and no definitive treatment has yet come up.

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Incidence, age and sex

Macular degeneration is an infrequently occurring eye disorder seen in the younger population. It is more commonly seen in elderly above 65 years.

Signs and symptoms

The primary clinical features of macular degeneration include partial loss of vision in both eyes. The patient may complain of increased requirement of light and higher contrast in order to see properly. He may be unable to differentiate different objects of the same colour. The affected individual, in an advanced stage of disease fails to recognize faces and read the largest letter in the eye chart. However, peripheral vision remains intact and helps the affected individuals to walk easily.

The diagnosis is established by detailed examination of the eyes by an eye specialist. Eye examination by a special instrument called the ophthalmoscope, reveals yellow deposition called drusen on the retina. Other eye test called Perimetry may also be done to check the field of vision.

Causes and prevention

The cause of macular degeneration is not clearly understood. Both genetic and environmental factors seem to play a role in the causation of this disorder.

Dietary changes including increased consumption of green leafy vegetables, supplements of zinc and food rich in antioxidants may help in preventing the occurrence of macular degeneration or minimising its progress, once diagnosed. Smoking cessation, protection against UV light and regular physical exercise may also contribute to its prevention.

Complications

Macular degeneration is emotionally distressing for elderly individuals. Macular degeneration in advanced stages may lead to profound visual loss, leading to impairment in daily activities.

Submit a request for further information, a quotation or indicative cost. Your enquiry will be forwarded to up to 3 private healthcare providers. They will respond directly with further information.

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Moorfields Private

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Sponsored by Moorfields Private Eye Hospital

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Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of macular degeneration
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