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Dry Macular Degeneration

Dry Macular Degeneration: Causes and Risk Factors

In dry macular degeneration, the light-sensitive vision cells deteriorate, but there is no bleeding. Scientists are still not sure what causes dry macular degeneration. Studies suggest that an area of the retina becomes diseased, leading to the slow breakdown of the light-sensing cells in the macula and a gradual loss of central vision.
Research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop dry macular degeneration. A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chance of developing a disease.
Specific risk factors for dry macular degeneration include:

Stages and Symptoms of Dry Macular Degeneration

Dry macular degeneration occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As the condition gets worse, you may see a blurred spot in the center of your vision. Over time, as less of the macula functions, central vision in the affected eye can be gradually lost.
The most common symptom of dry macular degeneration is slightly blurred vision. You may have difficulty recognizing faces. You may need more light for reading and other tasks. This disease generally affects both eyes, but vision can be lost in one eye while the other eye seems unaffected.
A common early indication of dry macular degeneration is drusen. Drusen are yellow deposits under the retina. They often are found in people over age 60. Your eye care professional can detect drusen during a comprehensive dilated eye exam.
Dry macular degeneration has three stages, all of which may occur in one or both eyes:
  • Early dry macular degeneration
  • Intermediate dry macular degeneration
  • Advanced dry macular degeneration.
People with early dry macular degeneration have either several small drusen or a few medium-sized drusen (yellow deposits under the retina). At this stage, there are no symptoms and no vision loss.
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Info on Dry Macular Degeneration

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