Macular degeneration prognosis is of course different for every body and ... different for each eye.
How fast one's macular degeneration will progress is a major concern for most people diagnosed with this retinal disease.
One person may experience a different rate of progression in their right eye compared to their left eye.
It's possible that one eye can have dry age related macular degeneration and the other eye the wet form.
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"I can't tell you how supportive and reassuring your site has been since they first told me about this a few months ago. Despite having lived a full and wonderful life, the loss of my ability to see the faces of those around me has been the extremely weighing on me. Your site has helped in so many ways to hold off the fear and to help me understand how it will progress and what to do.
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For the majority of people age related macular degeneration (AMD) progresses slowly and affects only your central vision. It is not blindness. It is considered low vision. Low vision is visual impairment that cannot be corrected by:
However, a person still has some usable peripheral or side vision that with training, low vision aids and magnifiers can continue to do many of the activities they enjoyed before.
The most important factor for your macular degeneration prognosis will be if you have dry macular degeneration or if you have wet macular degeneration. Dr. Michael A. Samuel, ophthalmologist and author of Macular Degeneration: A Complete Guide for Patients and Their Families writes,"There's usually no way to know, once symptoms appear, how fast the disease will progress. You can go for years with a mild case of dry AMD, only to wake up one morning with drastic changes that indicate the onset of wet AMD."
Many readers are interested in how macular degeneration progresses. It is different for everybody and different for each eye. Share with others what your experience has been.
Tell us when you were first diagnosed, if you have wet or dry macular degeneration, what treatment you used and then describe what loss of vision you have experienced.
Click here to share:
I wish someone told me about their experience with wet macular degeneration when I was diagnosed.
Having no guidance can be scary. This is my personal story with dry, then wet AMD in both eyes, and begins with who I am and what I do.
I’m a photographer and portrait artist; I need my eyes... Read the rest of her story ....
Almost 85-90% of those with macular degeneration have the dry or atrophic form. The progression of dry macular degeneration is slow and and may take years for it to worsen. The factors that play into the progression of this disease are:
1) Environment - toxins in the air and food we eat causes free radical damage
2. Diet - diets high in high glycemic carbohydrates, unhealthy fats and low in antioxidants
3. Smoking - Smoking is one of the highest risk factors for the development and progression of macular degeneration
"Dr. Johanna Seddon (director of epidemiology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health) was lead author of the study.
They found an association with body mass index, waist circumference, and waist-hip ratio to the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Their results provide new information regarding modifiable factors for individuals with the early or intermediate stages of MD. Overall and abdominal obesity increased the risk for progression to advanced AMD, and more physical activity tended to decrease risk."
Arch Ophthalmol. 2003 Jun;121(6):785-92.
However, the dry form can turn into the wet form... and it can turn into the wet form very suddenly, even if you have early stage AMD.
All people who have the wet form had the dry form first.
There is no way to tell if or when the dry form will turn into the wet form.
Meanwhile, during this time you can be proactive in many ways in slowing the progression of AMD and adapting to your change in vision.
Protect Your Vision
Wear sunglasses and wide brimmed hats or visors. Avoid being out in the sun from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Stay away from tanning booths. Learn about blue blocker sunglasses. Exposure to ultraviolet light increases the formation of free radicals. This exposure is accumulative. Free radicals cause degeneration and damage to the cell walls.
"Almost every single one of the risk factors we have for macular degeneration can be linked to free radicals."
Dr. Lylas G. Mogk, M. D. author of Macular Degeneration: The Complete Guide to Saving and Maximizing Your Sight
Antioxidants and omega-3's are vital for your health and especially your eye health.
According to the U.S. Federal government's National Eye Institute the Age-Related Eye Disease Study found that: "taking high levels of antioxidants and zinc can reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by about 25 percent."
Prepare for the Future
Become aware of the many visual aids and training available from a low vision specialist. Magnifiers, proper lighting along with large number phones and electronic book readers all help to maximize one's useable vision.
Wet macular degeneration causes loss of central vision much quicker than the dry form ...and each eye can have a different form of macular degeneration.
So one eye may lose central vision quicker than the other eye.
Fortunately, only 10%-15% of AMD are the wet or exudative form. In this form, blood vessels that are weak and fragile grow from the choroid layer (a layer of tissue under the macula)and they leak blood and fluid. This damages the cone cells in the macula.
The macula is a very small little spot in the retina which is responsible for your vision straight ahead. This little spot is only about 5% of your retina - however it is responsible for 35% of your visual field.
As AMD progresses it is the visual field right in front of you - like someone's face that you are talking to or a book in front of you - that becomes distorted or blurry.
This means that the rest of the retina is still functioning and thus you still have side or peripheral vision - which is very different than total blindness.
To read about the experiences of others with this macular degenerative disease click here: