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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Eye Care Eye Care Arrow to Macular Degeneration Macular Degeneration

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diagram of the eye showing the macula
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:

Dry form - 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.

How a person with macular degeneration views the world.
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.

These 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.

Nutrition and Age-Related Macular Degeneration - Here's a quick overview of alternative therapies suggested by research studies showing benefits of antioxidants vitamins E, C, and A,
lutein and zeaxanthin.


This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.


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