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Low Vision and Age Related Macular Degeneration

Do You Suffer From Low Vision and Age Related Macular Degeneration?
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Difficulty seeing is an unfortunately common complaint associated with aging. As one ages, many natural processes take place which make it harder to see in general. It is important, however, to recognize what is a natural part of decreased vision as a person ages, and what is not considered natural and may be linked to more serious eye conditions. If you are having difficulty seeing in order to perform even simple tasks, you may be suffering from low vision and should consult your local eye doctor.

“Low vision is a condition which makes it very difficult or even impossible to accomplish  everyday tasks such as recognizing faces, watching television or driving, due to very poor vision” says Dr. Schechter of Fox Chase Family Eye Care, in Northeast Philadelphia, PA. “This is especially true in the form of low vision brought on by age-related macular degeneration because it is the most important part of your vision, your central vision, which is affected.”

Age-related macular degeneration occurs when your eye's macula begins to deteriorate or break down as a result of aging. The macula is a small part of the retina, which is a small light-sensitive tissue lining the back of your eye. The macula is responsible for central vision in the eye, which allows a person to see fine details for activities like reading small print or threading a needle.

Dr. Schechter notes, “Macular degeneration may have an assortment of symptoms. If you suddenly have difficulty recognizing people's faces, or are experiencing colors less vividly than you remember, be sure to let your eye doctor know at your next eye exam, because these are known symptoms of low vision related to age-related macular degeneration.”

Because vision loss related to macular degeneration is generally slow, many people do not know that their vision is degenerating until significant damage has already been done. It is very important to have regular comprehensive eye exams to monitor any changes in your eyes that may signal macular degeneration. During your exam, your eye doctor will examine your retina and other parts of the back of your eye to check for anything unusual. If he detects macular degeneration, your optometrist may use a device called an Amsler Grid to check your symptoms.

Unfortunately, no single proven treatment for macular degeneration exists at this time. However, if your doctor detects macular degeneration, he may recommend that you begin taking vitamin supplements that some studies have shown may slow the spread of the condition and possibly prevent it from advancing into a more dangerous form. These supplements include Vitamins C and E, Luten, Zeaxanthin, Zinc Oxide and Copper.

It is important to know that with macular degeneration and low vision, a person rarely goes completely blind, so that even though vision loss cannot be reversed, it can be compensated for by proper rehabilitation and low vision aids. If you have low vision or age-related macular degeneration, speak to your eye doctor about ways to compensate for your lost vision, as well as low vision aids that can help you continue an independent lifestyle.