When Does Macular Degeneration Develop?

Macular degeneration is a condition that involves chronic degenerative eye diseases. The disease involves various stages. It ranges from early, intermediate, to late-stage, which entails vision loss. But not everyone goes through all three. Many people do not end up losing their vision. It is essential to understand the disease and when it develops.

Macular Degeneration Development

Macular degeneration develops as your eyes continue to age. The macula, which is the central part of your retina, begins to wear down as you advance in age. Your macula handles clear vision in your sight’s direct line. Wearing down leads to severe vision problems.


You may not have symptoms during the onset of the condition. But as it gets worse, the signs can begin showing. 

Some signs and symptoms of macular degeneration include:

  • Less clear or worse vision.

  • Different or worse color perception.

  • Difficulty recognizing faces.

  • Difficulty adapting to low lighting.

  • Vision distortions, like seeing straight lines as bent.

  • Need for brighter light when doing up-close work like reading. 


Macular degeneration develops in adults above 60. Scientists are uncertain about what causes the condition. But research shows a combination of environmental and hereditary factors. What is certain is that some factors can increase your risk of getting macular degeneration, as follows: 

  • Age.

  • Genetics.

  • Smoking.

  • Race.

  • Cardiovascular disease.

  • Obesity.


Routine eye exams are essential for spotting macular degeneration. One of the eye signs of the condition is having yellow spots called drusen under your retina. Your eye doctor can detect this during your regular eye exams.

Your eye doctor can also use an Amsler grid to check your perception of the straight lines on it. If some of the lines appear missing or wavy, you may have signs of macular degeneration.

When your doctor finds that you have the disease, you can have a procedure called OCT or angiography. In the latter, your doctor will inject a dye into a vein in your arm. They will then take photos of how the coloring flows into your retina.

If your doctor sees vessels leaking blood or fluid in your macula, the pictures taken will show the type and exact location. OCT allows the doctor to see blood or fluid below your retina without a dye.

How to Lower Your Risk of Macular Degeneration

There are various ways you can reduce your risk of getting macular degeneration. If you are a smoker, you can start by stopping. The habit exposes you to dangerous free radicals. You inhale unstable molecules that damage your cells and prevent nutrients from reaching your retina. The sooner you stop smoking, the better.

It is essential to know your family history. You stand a greater risk of getting the condition if you have a sick parent or sibling. If you notice any family ties to the disease, seek immediate medical help.

Ensure you eat green vegetables with antioxidants and nutrients. Doing so helps you ingest foods that protect you against free radicals that set up cellular damage that causes eye disease. Also, take supplements that reduce your risk of getting the condition.

You can wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from blue light and UV rays that damage your retina after repeated exposure. Also, maintain your weight and blood pressure. Hypertension causes poor blood flow. It restricts flow to your eyes, contributing to macular degeneration. Weight loss has proven to lower blood pressure. Regular eye checkups are also essential for early detection and treatment.

For more on macular degeneration, visit Coers Family Eyecare at our office in Columbus, Indiana. You can call (812) 408-8400 today to schedule an appointment.

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