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Understanding What Puts You at Risk for Developing Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that commonly occurs in adults over 50. It’s one of the leading causes of permanent vision loss in adults. 

There is no cure for AMD, but early detection can improve your chances of retaining your vision. This is why it’s important for adults, especially older adults, to get their eyes checked regularly and protect their vision. 

Dr. Michael Ragen sees many patients at risk for macular degeneration at Ventura Eye Institute, his eye clinic in Camarillo, California. He can help diagnose you even if you’re in the early stages, and may be able to slow the progression of your eye disease with specialized treatment. 

What causes macular degeneration 

Before discussing the risk factors of AMD, it’s important to understand the various parts within your eyes. Your retina is responsible for sensing light as it enters your eye, and the macula is the centermost portion of this tissue. 

When macular degeneration develops, your center vision is affected. This is what you see right in front of you. Your peripheral vision might remain the same, but your central vision can be seriously impaired. 

There are two types of macular degeneration: dry AMD and wet AMD. Most cases are dry, which means they’re caused by deposits of drusen (pigment or debris) on the macula. Wet AMD is rarer, and it’s caused by leaking blood vessels underneath your macula. 

What causes these conditions isn’t fully understood, but certain factors are associated with a higher risk for AMD.

Risk factors for macular degeneration 

There are a number of risk factors for age-related macular degeneration, the most obvious being age. Adults should be screened every two years, but those over 50 should receive annual eye exams to check for this condition. 

This is especially important if you have other risk factors, including: 

Early detection is key in treating AMD. This condition is chronic and worsens over time, so it’s important that you get the issue diagnosed as soon as possible. 

What you can do about macular degeneration 

While there is no cure for macular degeneration, you can slow down progression of the disease. Many people are discouraged after being diagnosed with AMD, but medication and treatment can preserve your vision and help you cope with the condition. 

Your doctor can diagnose which form of AMD you have and recommend treatment and medication for either one. For wet AMD, photocoagulation can help seal off the blood vessels and prevent further leakage. For dry AMD, medication may be the best form of treatment.

Are you concerned about your vision? Call our Camarillo, California, office at 805-388-1211 or book your appointment online to find out if you could be at risk for macular degeneration. You can also send a message to Dr. Ragen, Dr. Kyle Huynh, and the team here on our website.

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