Macular degeneration of the retina

Macular degeneration of the retina is the most common cause of loss of visual acuity in people over 60 years of age.

What is a macula?

The macula is the central part of the light-sensitive layer of the eye, the retina. For vision, the macula is very important, due to it we see objects that are directly in front of our eyes, i.e. With the help of the macula, we read and write. The macula also gives us the ability to distinguish colors.

The macula is made up of delicate, light-sensitive cells. As a result of some processes, these cells can be damaged, a condition called “macular degeneration of the retina.” If macular degeneration develops in old age, it is called “senile (senile) macular degeneration of the retina.”

Types of macular degeneration of the retina

Ophthalmologists classify macular degeneration into two types: “wet” and “dry”.

“Dry” macular degeneration of the retina is more common. It develops very slowly, causing loss of the central visual field. Currently, doctors still do not know how to treat dry macular degeneration.

“Wet” macular degeneration occurs in about 10%. The reason for its development is the formation of new blood vessels behind the retina (this process is called “neovascularization”). New vessels are fragile and permeable to blood, and this leads to the appearance of hemorrhages, the formation of connective tissue and, as a result, to loss of vision. Wet macular degeneration develops quickly and can be treated in the early stages.

Usually, macular degeneration of the retina affects both eyes, but often one eye begins to lose sight much earlier than the other – in this case, the patient may not notice the onset of the disease immediately, because. one eye compensates for the loss of function of the other.

Macular degeneration does not cause pain and does not often lead to total blindness. only the central visual field is affected. Macular degeneration is the most common cause of loss of visual acuity in people over 60 years of age, as already mentioned.

What causes macular degeneration?

Currently, the exact root cause of malokudystrophy is unknown. The following is a list of factors that increase the risk of developing macular degeneration:

  • age – macular degeneration is more common in older people;
  • gender – women suffer from macular degeneration more often than men;
  • heredity – several genes are currently known that are passed down from generation to generation in families and can influence the development of macular degeneration;
  • Smoking – Several studies have shown that smoking contributes to the development of macular degeneration. If a person quits smoking, the risk gradually decreases;
  • sunlight and ultraviolet – experts believe that sunlight damages the retina;
  • nutrition – some vitamins and minerals have a protective effect and slow down or prevent the development of macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration symptoms

In the early stages of macular degeneration, patients notice deterioration in central vision, objects look distorted, and straight lines appear curved. The development of symptoms may be gradual (over several months) or rapid. Sometimes there is a sharp susceptibility to light. There is no pain.

In the later stages, patients complain of a black spot in the central part of the visual field, which makes it difficult to read, drive a car and work with small objects.

How is macular degeneration diagnosed?

Usually, the diagnosis is not difficult, since the symptoms are quite characteristic. To confirm the diagnosis, ophthalmologists perform a fundus examination, determination of visual fields, and other tests, such as fluorescein angiography and the Amsler array test.

Treatment of macular degeneration

In some cases of wet macular degeneration, photodynamic therapy is indicated, with which doctors slow down the growth of new vessels.

Treatment of dry macular degeneration

Currently, an effective treatment for this form of macular degeneration has not yet been developed, but it has been shown that proper nutrition, the inclusion of a large amount of fresh vegetables and fruits in the diet, vitamins A and E, which are antioxidants, can slow down or even prevent the development of the disease.


  • follow the right diet – a lot of fruits and vegetables, especially leafy (cabbage, spinach). Take multivitamins with micronutrient supplements;
  • Use dark glasses with UV protection if you are in bright sunlight for a long time;
  • stop smoking. Quitting tobacco will not only help your eyesight, but it will also benefit your heart, brain, and lungs and reduce your risk of cancer;
  • observe reading hygiene: good lighting, large text, halogen lamps.

For self-diagnosis, you can use the Amsler grating.

How to use the Amsler grating? If you traditionally wear glasses, put them on. Close one eye. Stare at the center point at arm’s length. Keeping your eyes on the center dot, slowly bring your face closer to the monitor until one of the red ovals disappears from the lateral field of view (traditionally at a distance of 20–30 cm). While approaching, do not take your eyes off the central point! Don’t forget to check the other eye!

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