The macula (center, right) is part of the eye that allows us to sharply focus on the world around us.
The macula is the central portion of the retina that is responsible
for our sharpest vision, allowing us to read fine print or perform intricate handwork
like stitching or sewing.
As we age, the cells of the macula and retina
begin to break down and can no longer send normal signals of light through the
optic nerve to the brain. The result is blurred vision, often an early sign of
a condition known as macular degeneration.
The major cause of severe vision
loss in people over 60 macular degeneration comes in two forms:
- In the mild form of dry macular degeneration, aging spots appear in the macula and vision slowly deteriorates.
The damage can vary greatly, however, because some people can have the condition
for years and still have fairly good vision.
Roll your mouse over the image to see how a person with macular degeneration
views the world...
Wet form - In the more severe wet macular degeneration,
abnormal blood cells grow under the retina and macula, a condition known as angiogenesis.
As these blood vessels bleed or leak, central vision becomes distorted and vision
loss is usually rapid and severe. Patients usually report a dark spot in their
central line of vision and, because the macula is no longer smooth and straight,
straight lines appear wavy.
Up until quite recently, there was little that
could be done for the majority of patients with for the most severe form of macular
degeneration. New drugs, however, are now available that check the growth of abnormal
blood vessels and can actually reverse the effects of macular degeneration.
new drugs, usually injected directly into the eye, include Lucentis (ranibizumab),
Avastin (bevacizumab) and Macugen (pegaptanib).
Elsewhere on the Web, find
out more about the disease with additional facts & information on its symptoms,
risk factors, alternative therapies and new treatments giving new hope to those
living with macular degeneration ....
More about macular degeneration around the Web:
Understanding Age-Related Macular
Degeneration - Check out an excellent guide with
detailed information on signs & symptoms of macular degeneration, causes, risk factors, when to
seek medical advice, diagnosis, treatments including new drugs and traditional
surgical procedures plus more on complementary & alternative remedies.