The macula of the eye is a small area in the middle of the retina on which light is focused. A person's visual acuity depends on the health of the macula. If the macula begins to deteriorate, vision becomes blurred and the person can no longer focus on items at certain distances. Macular degeneration deprives a person of the ability to read, focus on detailed objects, and recognize facial features. Age-related macular degeneration occurs as a person begins to get older. Dry macular generation accounts for over 90% of reported cases. The other 10% is known as wet macular degeneration. Wet macular degeneration can lead to significant weight loss, while dry macular degeneration results in pigments being deposited on the macula, blocking a person's vision.
Dry macular degeneration occurs when spots of yellowish pigment begin to collect in and around the macula of the eye. The more the spots accumulate, the more a person's vision is obstructed. Wet macular degeneration is known to cause more severe forms of vision loss. With this type of macular degeneration, blood vessels begin to grow and then eventually leak, filling the eye with blood. Light sensitive cells within the eyes are permanently damaged when this occurs. Once these cells are damaged, they eventually die, resulting in permanent vision loss. Both types of macular degeneration result in blind spots or areas where the eyes can no longer properly focus.
Macular degeneration has no known cure. Once age-related macular degeneration starts to affect the vision, it becomes more difficult to treat. When it is caught in the earliest stages, doctors have more control over how fast it continues to progress. Although neither type of macular degeneration can be completely stopped, doctors can delay the condition enough to preserve a patient's vision for awhile longer. Doctors believe that by including omega three fatty acids found in salmon, olive oil, and flax seed they can significantly reduce a person's risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. Studies have also shown that lutein protects the eyes and reduces the risk of macular degeneration.
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