What is Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration:

Causes, Prevention, & Treatment

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maculardegenerationThe human eye is a very complex and highly evolved organ.  Humans are able to see when light rays enter the eye through the pupil.  These light rays are received by sophisticated nerves on the surface of the back of the eye in an area called the retina.  These nerves enter like small fine filaments and eventually coalesce into a larger fiber that is called the optic nerve.  The highest concentration of these nerves that interpret vision is in an area called the macula.  Because it has the highest concentration of nerves that interpret light and transfer the light into vision, the macula is the most important visual center of the eye.  Unfortunately the macula is susceptible to an illness in later life that is abbreviated AMD for age related macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration is indeed an illness of the baby boomers as well as people who are older than the baby boomers and most doctors prescribe eye vitamins as a macular degeneration treatment.  It involves a slow and insidious deterioration of this highly important visual collection area of the eye’s retina.  This area is called the macula as stated above.  The macula is the source of the most acute vision that is eventually interpreted by the human brain. The macula allows your eyes to clearly and unequivocally focus on items that are right in front of you.  This is called central vision.  The other portions of the retina are filled with nerves that allow peripheral vision.

As patients age some are susceptible to the formation of deposits called drusen on the back of the retina.  When these drusen begin to cover the macula it results in the loss of central vision and eventually blind spots.  As the disease progresses the macula is slowly destroyed.  A patient with severe macular degeneration will ultimately suffer a complete loss of central vision.  When central vision is lost a patient is significantly impaired.  A patient with severe macular degeneration cannot read or see T.V. or even recognize a familiar human face.

There are forms of macular degeneration that are genetic and can effect young people; however, the bulk of patients with macular degeneration are over fifty years of age.  The slow development of drusen begins to occur during this decade.  Early in the course of the process a patient will barely notice the effects of drusen; however, as larger and larger amounts of these deposits cover the macula, vision is disrupted.  When the disease progresses to its worse form, a patient will only have limited peripheral vision.  Macular degeneration is by far the leading cause of legal blindness in the world.  Medical science continues to investigate the cause and searches for a cure.

Article posted with permission from curemaculardegeneration.com

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