What Is Macular Degeneration Washington DC Seniors Experience And What Causes It

By Karen Nelson

One of the most annoying things about growing older is that the body starts to wear out. Knees and hips have to be replaced. Hearing aids and prescription glasses become necessary accessories. Sometimes seniors have vision problems eyeglasses won't fix. The macular degeneration Washington DC senior suffer is one of them. Also referred to as ARMD, this condition involves the area of retinas that affect the sharpness of a person's vision. When it degenerates, reading, driving, watching television, and working on a computer are no longer options.

There are two types of ARMD, the dry and the wet. The dry form of the disease affects about ninety percent of sufferers. This is the disease in its early stage. Wet ARMD is much more serious and can lead to virtual blindness. With dry ARMD the loss of eyesight is normally gradual. In some cases it will degenerate over time into geographic atrophy. When that happens the loss of eyesight is severe. Signs that there is a problem include shadowy areas, distortions, and fuzziness in the individual's line of sight.

The thought of losing your vision is scary. People are concerned about the causes and what can be done to avoid it. Age is the most common cause, but that are other factors that put individuals at risk as well. These factors include being Caucasian, a woman, a smoker, and overweight. It is believed that the disease has a genetic component.

Smoking is one of its highest risk factors. Studies have shown that people who smoke make up about twenty-five percent of victims with the severest form of the disease. Even living with a smoker is a risk factor. It makes you twice as likely to get the disease as those living with non-smokers.

Other possible factors, ones out of an individual's control, are genetics and eye color. Many twins get the disease. Those with light colored eyes are more apt to develop ARMD. People who have dark eyes, which have extra pigment, are believed to be protected from sun exposure. The evidence is not conclusive however when it comes to this theory.

There are drugs thought to cause ARMD as a side effect. Anti-malarial drugs are among them. Thorazine, which is an anti-psychotic drug, is also included. Doctors also prescribe thorazine for vomiting, nausea, and excessive hiccuping. The risk associated with heredity and drugs is not as well understood as the risks posed by aging and smoking.

ARMD has no cure. The most medical professionals can do is attempt to slow the progress of ARMD and try to prevent the dry form from turning into the wet form. It is believed that diet plays a factor in preventing the disease.

Nutritional scientists are studying the efficacy of diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These include salmon and various other cold water fish. Until there is a cure, the best thing for seniors to do is exercise on a regular basis, eat a diet high in omega-3s, and avoid all forms of tobacco. This includes second hand smoke.

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