Macular degeneration is a chronic eye disease that affects many older Americans that can only be treated effectively if it is diagnosed in its early stages. Even if you have normal vision with no symptoms of the disease, it’s important to undergo regular comprehensive eye exams to determine the health of your eyes and diagnose issues like macular degeneration that can lead to permanent blindness if left untreated. Dr. Barb Evans in Des Moines, (a board-certified ophthalmologist), will provide answers to your most important questions regarding macular degeneration and how to best protect your vision.
What is Macular Degeneration?
There are two types of age-related macular degeneration, dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration is identified by a progressive deterioration of your eye’s macula near the center of the retina. This condition can lead to blurred vision or even complete vision loss in the center of your vision. Central vision is integral to many daily activities like reading and driving, so this type of macular degeneration can severely impact your quality of life if left untreated.
Wet macular degeneration, on the other hand, is diagnosed when the blood vessels underneath your retina begin to leak. This condition can cause rapid vision loss and is less common than dry macular degeneration.
What are the Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration?
Since macular degeneration primarily affects older people, those over age 50 should regularly be checked for signs of the disease. Your family history and race can also increase your risk of developing the disease because macular degeneration is more common in Caucasians as well as those who have a relative with the disease.
Behaviors such as smoking and an unhealthy diet can also constitute risk factors for macular degeneration, as can preexisting conditions like high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
When Should I See an Eye Doctor to Check for Macular Degeneration?
If you have any of the risk factors listed above, you should schedule regular exams with an eye doctor in Des Moines to keep tabs on your eye health. In addition, you should have your eyes checked if you begin to exhibit these early symptoms of the disease:
- You start needing brighter light for reading or other detail-focused work;
- You find it more and more difficult for your vision to adapt to areas with low light;
- You notice that printed words are becoming blurrier;
- You see a haze developing in your central or overall vision.
Contact Dr. Barb Evans at (515) 225-2566
Macular degeneration is a serious condition that can lead to advanced vision loss if it isn’t treated in its early stages. For this reason, Dr. Barb Evans in Des Moines recommends regular comprehensive eye exams, and if you have a flex spending account, now is the perfect time to schedule one. Give us a call today at (515) 225-2566 to schedule an eye exam with one of our board-certified ophthalmologists.