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What Is Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in individuals over 50.

Macular degeneration affects the macula, the center of the retina. This is the part of the eye that allows you to see details and helps with colors.

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

In early stages, macular degeneration does not typically result in noticeable vision changes.

In middle stages, it may cause vision changes or loss, but it can also go unnoticed in some cases.

In late stages, vision loss is noticeable. A blurry or dark area in the center of your vision is a common symptom. At this stage, there are two forms of macular degeneration: “dry” and “wet.”

  • Dry macular degeneration (the more common form) occurs when there’s a breakdown of tissue beneath the macula and the light-sensitive cells that send information to the brain. Common signs might include visual distortions, difficulty adapting to low light levels, and trouble reading.


  • Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the macula, leak fluid and cause swelling. Common signs might include reduced central vision, general haziness, and decreased intensity of color.

Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration

Age is the biggest risk factor for macular degeneration. Those who smoke, have a family history of the disease, or are Caucasian have a greater chance of developing the disease.

Treatments for Macular Degeneration

There’s no cure for dry macular degeneration, but not everyone will develop late-stage symptoms.

Your eye care professional may recommend you get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. The exam will help determine if your condition is advancing and the best treatment options.

When detected, for example, you can adjust your lifestyle to slow its progression by quitting smoking, exercising, eating healthy foods such as green leafy vegetables and fish, and/or avoiding ultraviolet light.

Wet macular degeneration is less common but treatable if detected early. Treatments include laser therapy and medication injections.

How Can You Detect Macular Degeneration?

Those over 50 should have regular eye exams and watch for any vision changes, especially if risk factors for disease are high.

If you detect changes in your vision, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will check for drusen, yellow deposits beneath the retina, which may indicate that you have age-related macular degeneration.

At Eye Center of the Rockies, we offer comprehensive general ophthalmology services and experience that’s unique to the Vail Valley and Roaring Fork Valley.

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Our Locations

Glenwood Springs

1607 Grand Ave. Suite 31
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601



232 Broadway St
Eagle, CO 81631


970-930-1205, 970-930-1044, 970-930-1195, 970-456-1442, 970-930-1120, 970-989-2006, 970-989-2700, 970-930-1013, 970-947-0050