Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the macula (the central area of the retina). It is a very common eye disease especially in people over 65 years of age. Usually, the macula processes central vision or “fine detail” vision. Macular damage results in the development of gray or blank spots in the central vision. The current theory states that certain layers of the retina (such as the RPE or retinal pigment epithelium) lose its pigment and functionality (due to age, environmental, and genetic reasons). This allows the layer to become damaged and not work properly. There will be a disruption in the signals sent to the brain, leading to visual disturbances.
- Age (3.8 Percent Of Americans Either Have Intermediate Or Advanced AMD Between The Ages of 50 – 59, and by the ages of 70 – 79, This Number Increases To 14.4 Percent)
- Gender (Women Appear Slightly Higher Risk)
- Family History
- High Cholesterol
Flashes & Floaters
Flashes are sensations of light, when no light is really there. Floaters appear as gray or black specks, lines, or “cobwebs” in front of the eyes.Sometimes floaters develop as a result of changes in the make-up of the vitreous gel inside the eye. The gel may pull on or rub against the retina as the eye moves, causing flashing lights or lightning streaks in the person’s vision. Flashes of light may also be a symptom of migraine headache. Floaters and flashes of light themselves cause no long term effects. Flashes of light usually go away within a few weeks. Floaters can sometimes be noticed for years. An examination is important, however, to rule out other more serious causes.
Uveitis means “inflammation of the uvea”. The uvea consists of three structures:
- Ciliary Body
Depending on which part of the eye is inflamed in uveitis different combinations of these symptoms may be present:
- Light Sensitivity
- Blurry Vision Pain