More than 200,000 people are affected by macular degeneration each year. Unfortunately, various treatments can help in handling this condition, but so far doctors and scientists haven’t found a way to cure it. Because of this, many people wonder if this disease is hereditary. When one family member starts suffering from this condition, their offspring fear that they could experience it in old age, too.
What Is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is an illness that affects our vision. It mainly hits the center of the field of sight on the person who has it. There are two types of this condition: wet and dry. If your loved one experiences the wet version, they will have an increased production of leaky blood vessels under their retina. The dry one works the other way around, and it causes the deterioration of the retina.
Regardless of which one you or your loved one experience, the end result is a black spot in the center of your field of vision. With time and progression of the condition, the spot will only grow larger. This condition is not only characteristic for older adults, but it can also affect younger people. But luckily, more than 90% of cases are recorded in people older than 60. In most cases, people don’t notice the symptoms of macular degeneration until they are older than 40.
The risks of developing this disease are many, but in most cases it is hereditary. Yes, people who have family members with this condition are more likely to develop it, but it is not solely tied to the disease history of one family. According to researchers, people whose family members or siblings suffer from this condition are more likely to develop it themselves. Statistically, if someone in your family had macular degeneration, you are four times more likely to have it yourself than someone who doesn’t have this condition running in their family.
What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
Older adults are prone to developing many conditions when they get into their golden age, and macular degeneration is one of them. When you are in your mid-30s or 40s, you have only a 3% chance of getting this disease. But when you get over the age of 75, the chances are 30% that you will develop this condition. In accordance with this, you can easily conclude that this is an age-related condition. Other factors that can affect MD are related to the lifestyle of an individual and include:
* Eating processed foods on a regular basis
* Eating artificially made fats
* Not wearing sunglasses on sunny days
Treatment for Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Like we mentioned, MD can’t be cured or reversed, but doctors have found solutions in the form of treatments. These treatments can slow down the development of this condition and prevent the permanent loss of vision. Depending on the type of macular degeneration you have (dry or wet), some of these treatments will have bigger or smaller effects.
- Vitamins – According to one of the most prominent MD-related studies, if you use a proper mixture of vitamins, you can ease the symptoms of this degeneration and reduce the chances of vision loss in dry MD.
- Anti-Angiogenic Medications – This treatment includes receiving shots directly in your eye with the goal of lowering leaking from blood vessels in wet MD.
- Laser Therapy – By using lasers, doctors can prevent the growth of blood vessels that are growing, causing the MD.
- Surgery – Doctors have developed a couple of surgeries which can remove these blood vessels and remaining scar tissue.
With all that said, we can tell that MD is a terrible disease with grave consequences for the life of older adults. But luckily there are treatments that can at least stop the progression of this age-related issue.
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