What is Macular Degeneration?

How to prevent this type of vision loss


If you’re like most, the term ‘macular degeneration’ strikes fear in your heart, but you may not know exactly what it is.

Macular Degeneration is a disease process that happens in the back of the eye, often as we age, and it can lead to vision loss. During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will test your vision as well as inspect each eye for any signs of disease, including macular degeneration.


The Retina contains layers of nerve cells lining the back wall inside the eye. It senses light and sends the information it gathers to the brain so that you can see.

The Macula is a small but very important area in the center of the retina that sees objects right in front of you, like the faces of friends and family and written text in a book. It is designed to see small details, which is why your central vision is much more detailed than your peripheral vision.


Most forms of macular degeneration are age-related. In fact, more than one-third of adults over the age of 75 are affected by this condition. The likelihood of developing the disease increases with age; however, those who have light skin, light eyes or a family history of macular degeneration are also more likely to receive the diagnosis.

Other risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • UV exposure
  • Cardiovascular disease factors (including high blood pressure and high cholesterol)
  • Poor nutrition

The best way to protect vision and improve your overall health or slow progression of macular degeneration is to adopt healthy lifestyle and nutrition habits.

  • Quit smoking
  • Wear sunglasses outdoors
  • Exercise regularly
  • Choose a diet high in leafy greens, colorful veggies, fish and whole grains
  • Attend annual eye exams and consult your doctor about changes in vision

The eye is a complex organ that can be easily affected by disease within the body. When things go wrong, your sight may be at risk. If you haven’t had an eye exam for more than 12 months, make your appointment today. 

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