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How Do I Know if I Have Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is a serious eye condition. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) says age-related macular degeneration is the main cause of age-related loss of vision in the center of eye among people 50 and older in the US. Because macular degeneration can worsen over time, its management is critical to retaining your eyesight.

Dr. Phillip Wu of Suburban Eyes Clinic in Evanston, Illinois, can help patients maintain healthy vision and manage macular degeneration. The first step is recognizing the common symptoms of macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration explained

Here’s a little eye anatomy.

Your eyeball is made of several parts, including the retina, located in the back of your eye. The retina records images and sends them through your optic nerve. The optic nerve travels between your eye and your brain, which is how you see.

The central part of your retina is called the macula, your body’s camera lens. Its job is to focus the central part of your vision on an image, which helps you read, recognize faces, and drive. When cells within the macula deteriorate, your brain stops receiving clear images. This is macular degeneration. If left untreated, iut can cause vision loss.

Two kinds of macular degeneration exist: Dry (atrophic) and wet (exudative). Most sufferers have dry macular degeneration, a vision loss caused by little deposits of drusen

— little pebbles of yellow fatty proteins — that develop in the macula. 

The wet type of macular degeneration happens when abnormal blood vessels emerge underneath the macula and retina. These unneeded blood vessels cause dark spots in your vision because they bleed or leak fluid. Only 10 to 15% of people with macular degeneration  have a wet diagnosis

Symptoms of macular degeneration

According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF), macular degeneration symptoms follow three stages:

How to treat macular degeneration

The AMDF says treatment for early dry macular degeneration should include nutritional therapy that includes these diet supplements:

Tufts Medical Center in Boston has created a formula that includes these antioxidants, plus carotenoids, and omega-3 fatty acids. 

Macular degeneration is a progressive disease and should be treated immediately. If you notice any symptoms, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Wu by calling 847-424-1100 or using our online scheduling tool.

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