Macular degeneration is a visual disorder characterized by the vision loss. Also, it is considered an incurable eye disease. The disorder occurs when there is a decline of functioning in the central portion of the retina. The retina is the inside layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends the information to the brain via the optic nerve. Macula, the central portion of the retina is responsible for the focusing central vision in the eye. It controls our ability to read, walk or run, recognize people and colors and see objects in fine detail.
Again, when the macula is functioning properly the eye can see objects with high detailed images. However, when the cells in the macula deteriorate, the images will not be received correctly by the brain. On its early stages the condition will not affect vision, but as it worsens over time, the macula and its function will be completely lost. Nonetheless, since the rest of the retina is still functioning, affected people will be able to retain their peripheral vision which is not clear compared to central vision.
There are two basic types of Macular Degeneration
Dry AMD – is the most common form of macular degeneration. The condition is characterized by parts of the macula get thinner because of age, and time clumps of protein grow. Called drusen, these clumps of protein will then cause the individual to slowly lose the central vision. No treatment is available yet for dry AMD.
Wet AMD – is the less common but the serious form. The condition is characterized by the growth of abnormal blood vessel under the retina. More often than not, these vessels may leak blood or fluids, causing scarring on the macula. In wet AMD an affected individual may lose their vision faster than those with dry AMD.
Though there is no specific cause, environment and hereditary might play a role in the development of AMD. There are risk factors involved in getting this condition and that include:
- Race – According to studies, Caucasians are more like to develop AMD than the rest.
- Smoking – This habit can double the risk of developing AMD.
- Genetics – If the disease runs in the family, there is a high chance you can develop the disorder.
If you think you are suffering from Macular Degeneration you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Macular Degeneration as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).