Macular degeneration is becoming more common as the population of the United states ages.Currently advanced macular degeneration causing legal blindness affects about 620,000 Americans. This number is expected to increase to 1.6 million in the next decade.
The early symptoms of macular degeneration are subtle and may only be a slight decrease in vision. As the disease progresses visual acuity also decreases.
There are two types of macular degeneration, wet and dry. Wet macular degeneration can present suddenly with a drastic decrease in vision. Until recently there was no treatment for this serious problem that can acutely lead to legal blindness. Now wet macular degeneration can be treated with excellent results.
Dry macular degeneration is far more common than wet. It is a very slowly progressive problem that may take years to cause serious loss of vision.
There is a constant stream of advertising to promote the AREDS vitamins to treat or prevent macular degeneration. There is no evidence that these vitamins are effective in the early stages of macular degeneration to prevent progression. There is good evidence that eating a healthy diet rich in vegetables and getting regular exercise is beneficial. Of great importance avoid the most important risk factor for developing macular degeneration. It is smoking.