Causes of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration diagnosis can be made by taking an image of your retinas through a microscope and then comparing it to an existing picture of what the area looks like on an x-ray. A retinopathy diagnosis may also be determined by performing a vascular imaging test, which looks at your macula with a fluorescing laser. An optical coherence tomography (OCT) may be used to determine the existence of a macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration is a condition in which the cells of the macula are damaged. Light rays from an object are reflected directly into the macula. This is the area of the retina (from the nose to the crown of the head) where color is perceived by the human eye. It is the central part of the retina that is responsible for fine and detailed central visual acuity (also known as "visual acuity"). Because the macula has very sensitive color sensors, it can be damaged if the center of your field of vision is blocked.
To diagnose macular degeneration, you need to look at it under a microscope. Your doctor will usually take a picture of your eyes after you have taken a retinoscope test.
The retina can be seen as a series of black dots on a piece of paper or on a computer monitor. As macular degeneration progresses, it may appear normal or irregular in shape, so you should be able to determine when one of your macula is becoming blurry or discolored.
Some people may have mild macular degeneration while others have severe macular degeneration. The most common type of macular degeneration is called druse. This occurs in middle age and causes the area surrounding the macula to become insensitive to light. It also affects the color perception of the macula, which can also change.
Another type of macular degeneration, called choroidal macular degeneration, affects the macular choroid. The choroid is the fluid that surrounds the macula, which is responsible for the formation of new blood vessels. When it dries up, new blood vessels can leak and allow toxins to build up.
If you've had any damage to the macula, surgery is an option, which is called surgery for macular degeneration. surgery will not correct the choroid, but will repair the choroid.
The results of having surgery for macular degeneration are often good
New vision and increased clarity are seen in a relatively short period of time.
Unfortunately, there are a number of problems associated with macular degeneration, including loss of natural vision. This happens because the macula is no longer able to properly relay images to the brain. Since vision is no longer coming through to the macula, the brain needs to be trained to process the image and recognize what's in front of it.
If you've had macular degeneration, the area around the macula will begin to get blurred over time, which makes it more difficult to see objects in the visual field. It may also affect color perception.
Macular degeneration can also cause problems with people who have diabetes. Because the macula's sensitivity to light affects color perception, those with diabetes may have problems seeing things clearly. The macula may appear blurry or 'washed-out.' This is why it's important to check with your doctor before you begin treatment for macular degeneration.
For some people, macular degeneration may even be caused by poor eyesight from using contacts, so it's important to consult a doctor if you wear contacts or if you wear lenses. Contact lenses may be required for years after having surgery to treat macular degeneration.
Since macular degeneration can affect everyone, there's no need to panic about this. It's a normal part of aging and is easily treated.