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Macular Degeneration: What is it and What are My Risks?

Macular degeneration is a common age related eye condition caused by deterioration of a small, but extremely important part of the retina, called the macula. The macula is responsible for central and detail vision, and its deterioration often causes spots and extreme blurriness in a person's central vision that can make it difficult to recognize even faces of loved ones, read a book or perform actions that require fine hand-eye coordination, such as sewing. Macular degeneration usually does not take a person's sight away very quickly, and there are generally no other symptoms. This is why it happens quite often that people who are not cautious about having regular comprehensive eye exams and eye disease screenings may miss the development of this eye condition until it is too late to recover their lost vision.


Dr. Chad Krietlow of Dr. Krietlow and Associates in Blain, Minnesota comments further, “The vast majority of those who suffer from macular degeneration are part of the elderly demographic. It is, however, possible to develop macular degeneration no matter how old or young you are. Although rare, babies and children have been known to develop it. The importance of regular comprehensive eye exams, therefore, cannot be overstated no matter your age. Regularly scheduled comprehensive eye exams will help your doctor monitor your eyes and screen for early warning signs of macular degeneration, along with other sight threatening conditions. Since macular degeneration steals your vision slowly, and cannot be reversed, the best defense against it is early detection and early treatment.”


Two types of macular degeneration exist, dry and wet:

·         Dry macular degeneration is much more common than its alternative. Blurry distance and/or reading vision, less vivid colors, trouble seeing in dim lighting and trouble recognizing faces, are all side-effects associated with the dry form of this disease. A consistent blank or blurry spot in the center of your vision is also common.

·         Wet macular degeneration is much rarer and stands to do much more damage to your eye sight. Those with wet macular degeneration are at increased risk of total, irreversible blindness. Many symptoms are the same as those displayed by the dry form of macular degeneration. You may also find that straight lines seem bent or crooked. You are more likely to develop wet macular degeneration if you smoke, have weight issues or high blood pressure.


Although unconfirmed, many eye care experts point to evidence that specific health supplements may be linked to a reduced risk of macular degeneration. Vitamins C and E are two important supplements that show possible benefits.


For more information, or to make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam, call Dr. Krietlow today!