Symptoms and Physical Observations
Drusen are yellowish deposits under the retina
Alterations of the retinal pigment cells with pigment clumping and atrophy
Retinal hemorrhages with subretinal/intraretinal fluid and exudates
Distorted vision (metamorphopsia); straight lines such as telephone poles appear crooked or wavy, faces of people are missing or disfigured, words are missing or jumbled
Color vision problems; colors appear blanched out or not as bright
Problems with adjusting to changes in light intensity such as going from light to dark as the retinal cells are not healthy and are slow in changing from different lighting conditions.
Causes of Macular Degeneration
The aging of the cells in the macula leads to macular degeneration. Approximately 30 percent of people over age 65 will eventually develop macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration does run in families. The risk of developing macular degeneration with a relative with macular degeneration is 50 percent.
They are an indication that age related degeneration is occurring.
High blood pressure or hypertension
The vascular disease associated with hypertension is a risk factor.
Atherosclerosis is related to developing macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is more likely in Caucasians especially people of Mediterranean descent are more likely than of African descent.
Exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light
UV exposure can been associated with macular degeneration. This has still not been totally confirmed.
Smoking increases the risk of developing macular degeneration by three times that of a non smoker.
High Fat Diet
This is a risk factor for macular degeneration.
Several genetic factors are associated with macular degeneration.
Stargardt’s (Juvenile Macular Degeneration)
It is an autosomal recessive retinal disease involving the macula.