Table of contents:
Macular degeneration, also known as retinal degeneration or just DM, is a disease that causes reduced central vision capacity, with dimming and loss of sharpness, preserving peripheral vision.
This disease is related to aging and mainly affects people over 50 years of age. Hence, it is also often referred to as AMD - age-related macular degeneration. However, it is also possible that it appears in young people and people with other risk factors such as cigarette use, deficiency in dietary vitamins, high blood pressure or intense exposure to sunlight, for example.
Although there is no cure, treatment can improve vision and prevent the disease from getting worse, and involves some options guided by the ophthalmologist, such as laser photocoagulation, medications, such as corticosteroids, and intraocular injections that decrease inflammation, in addition to following a diet rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E, and omega-3, present in foods or supplements.
Retinal degeneration occurs when the tissue in the center of the retina, called the macula, deteriorates. Thus, the symptoms it causes include:
- Gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly;
- Fogging or distorted vision in the center of vision;
- Appearance of a dark or empty area in the center of vision.
Although it can seriously compromise vision, macular degeneration does not usually lead to total blindness, as it only affects the central region, preserving peripheral vision.
The diagnosis of this disease is made by evaluations and tests performed by the ophthalmologist, who will observe the macula and detect the shape and degree of degeneration of each person, in order to program the best treatment.
Types of retinal degeneration
Depending on the stage and severity of macular degeneration, it can present itself in different ways:
1. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
It is the initial stage of the disease and may not cause symptoms. At this stage, the ophthalmologist can observe the existence of drusen, which are a kind of residues that accumulate under the retina tissue.
Although drusen accumulation does not necessarily cause vision loss, it can interfere with the he alth of the macula and progress to a more advanced stage if not discovered and treated quickly.
2. Dry Degeneration
It is the main form of presentation of the disease and happens when retinal cells die, which causes gradual loss of vision. If left untreated, this degeneration can worsen and develop into a more aggressive form in the future.
3. Wet degeneration
This is the most serious stage of the disease, in which fluid and blood can leak from the blood vessels under the retina, leading to scarring and loss of vision.
How the treatment is done
Macular degeneration has no cure, however, follow-up and monitoring by the ophthalmologist, in scheduled appointments, should be started as soon as possible, to prevent the disease from worsening.
In some cases, treatment that includes the use of thermal laser, corticosteroids, retinal photocoagulation, in addition to the intraocular application of drugs such as Ranibizumab or Aflibercept, for example, which reduce the proliferation of vessels blood pressure and inflammation.
Natural treatment does not replace treatment with medication guided by the ophthalmologist, however it is important to help prevent and avoid the worsening of macular degeneration.
A diet rich in omega-3, present in fish and shellfish, in addition to antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper, present in fruits and vegetables, is recommended, as they are important elements for retinal he alth.
If the food is not enough to meet the daily needs, it is possible to consume them through supplements sold in natural products stores and manipulation pharmacies, in doses guided by the ophthalmologist.
In addition, to help prevent and treat the disease, it is advised to follow other he althy habits such as not smoking, avoiding alcoholic beverages and protecting yourself from intense sunlight and ultraviolet radiation with appropriate sunglasses.