Macular degeneration occurs when the middle of the retina – the macula or the rear wall of our eye on which images we see fall before being processed by light-sensitive cells there – starts degenerating. Those at risk include women, smokers, those with obesity, metabolic syndrome or syndrome X, those with lighter eyes or skin, those who are on some medication for bone loss, and those who have trouble breathing while they are in a deep sleep. Wet macular degeneration involves abnormal blood vessels growing in the macula and the rest of the retina and leaking fluid so as to push up the macula. This warps, damages and finally destroys vision in the macula, which is the area most important for vision with its packed photoreceptor cells. Lines will appear twisted and splotches of darkness appear on one’s vision. While it is known that age plays a role, the causes of the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. The retina’s central portion, known as the macula, is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye. As the disease gathers force, there is decreased sight, including macular vision, seeing spots in damaged areas of the eye, or even hallucinating.
The only way to treat the problem used to be by using a laser, though it has been shown to work only in about half the cases. Now there are chemical and laser-related options, too. Because blood vessel growth is associated with the presence of a ‘vascular endothelial growth factor,’ drugs that impair its function are expected to help. Another solution is to use modified RNA (ribonucleic acid) or sealing blood vessel leaks using lasers. Wet macular degeneration occurs to just 15 per cent of the people with age-related macular problems but are common in two-thirds of the people with a significant loss of vision. In 70 per cent of the cases, wet age-related macular degeneration weakens vision to 20/200 or worse within two years. Antioxidants (including vitamins A, C, and E, selenium, copper, lutein, and zeaxanthine) and zinc have been shown to help preserve vision. And it would help to make full use of vision from outside the central zone, that is, the peripheral vision, to maximum effect. Anti oxidants are known to protect by preventing free oxygen – which is found in high quantities in the blood vessel -rich eye.