What is Dry Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is an age-related eye disorder that occurs more frequently as people age. In 2019, approximately 12.6% of Americans over the age of 40 were living with this condition, which can threaten your vision. Macular degeneration is divided into two main types, which are dry and wet. Learning about dry macular degeneration can help you gain a better understanding of you or your loved one’s condition so that you can take steps to stop vision loss.

What Exactly Is Dry Macular Degeneration?

This condition occurs when the inner layers of the macula break down. The macula is part of your retina, and it impacts your central vision. The dry type of macular degeneration is the most common, with 90% of cases falling into this category. With the dry type, protein deposits develop under the macula that cause it to dry out and get thin. With the wet type, blood vessels leak fluid into the macula. Although it is less common, people with the dry type can go on to develop the wet type of macular degeneration.

Who Is at Greater Risk of Developing Dry Macular Degeneration?

When you go to an ophthalmologist, they’ll look for the signs of this eye disorder. They’ll also take a health inventory to determine if you are at higher risk for developing dry macular degeneration. Age is the most common factor regarding who develops the condition, but you could also be at higher risk if you have a family history of macular degeneration, are a smoker or have obesity or heart disease.

What Are the Most Common Symptoms?

The changes that accompany dry macular degeneration typically occur gradually, which is why it is important to report any new symptoms to your Brooklyn retina doctor. You may also notice symptoms in only one eye or both. Noticing changes in your central vision is a major sign that you could be developing this disorder. People with dry macular degeneration also experience distortions in their vision such as straight lines appearing wavy. You may find that you need more lighting to read a book or that your eyes take longer to adjust to dim lighting.

How Do Eye Doctors Treat Dry Macular Degeneration?

There isn’t a way to cure dry macular degeneration, but your eye doctor can offer solutions to help slow down the progression of the condition and preserve your vision. Nutritional supplements have been shown to be effective for people with dry macular degeneration, and your vision specialist can offer you treatments that include medications and vitreoretinal surgery, if the condition progresses to a certain point.

With any eye condition, continued monitoring is important for tracking vision changes that need treatment. Working with an experienced retina doctor ensures that you get the continuous care and treatment you need to continue to see well as you age. Whether you are approaching 40 and need a thorough eye exam or are concerned about changes in your vision, make sure to reach out as soon as possible for an appointment to check on your retinal health.