Macular degeneration is an eye disorder that results in damaged sharp and central vision, and according to the American Optometric Association it affects an estimated 1.8 million Americans 50 years and older. Macular degeneration is largely associated with aging, but in the modern world of electronic devices, all ages should be aware of the eye disorder.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in adults age 65 and older. The good news is you can reduce the risk with a few changes in your daily behaviors.
Am I at Risk for Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a common eye problem that causes blurred or reduced vision. The following factors may increase your risk for developing macular degeneration:
- 50+ years old
- Family history
- Current or prior smoker
- Cardiovascular disease
- Low macular pigment
- Sun exposure
- Drusen (tiny yellow or white deposits under the retina identified by your eye doctor)
What your VSP eye doctor sees when detecting macular degeneration.
What are Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
Common symptoms of age-related macular degeneration are as follows:
- Blurry vision
- Blind spots or dark areas in the center of your vision
- Difficulty recognizing family faces
- Reduced or loss of central vision
Dry macular degeneration may affect one or both eyes. If only one eye is affected, you may not notice any changes in your vision because the other eye is compensating for the weak eye.
What can I do about macular degeneration?
There is no cure for macular degeneration, but there are treatments that may improve vision or slow progression. Living a healthy lifestyle may help reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration. Ways to lower your risk for macular degeneration are:
- Quit or avoid smoking
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet withâ¯more fruits, vegetables, and fish
- Maintain normal blood pressure andâ¯cholesterol levels
How Can I Find Out If I Have Macular Degeneration?
If you have the risk factors or wonder if you may have macular degeneration, schedule an appointment with a VSP eye doctor. Your VSP eye doctor can detect macular degeneration with dilation during your yearly comprehensive eye exam. If you’re looking to save on your next eye exam, consider getting VSP Individual Vision Plans coverage. Find an individual vision insurance plan, customized just for you.