Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness among adults in the United States. More than ten million Americans have this condition, which is more than those with glaucoma and cataracts combined. There is not currently a cure for the disease. The illness occurs when the central part of the retina begins to deteriorate. The retina is made up of light-sensing cells that record images and transmit them along the optic nerve and into the brain. The central part is the macula, which is responsible for focusing an individual’s central vision. The macula is what allows individuals to recognize faces, recognize colors, see the fine details of objects, drive a car, and read. There are two types of macular degeneration, and age-related macular degeneration has three stages.
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One of the potential treatments for macular degeneration is laser therapy, a surgical procedure that helps seal the blood vessels leaking in the eyes. While it won’t cure the disease, it can help low the progression of the deterioration, allowing patients to retain their central vision for longer. The dry type of macular degeneration leads to slow breaking down of the light-sensing cells within the retina, and the level to which vision is affected varies. The wet type is caused by the formation of abnormal blood vessels beneath the retina. Laser surgery can’t help the dry form, but it can help with certain cases of wet macular degeneration. Two types of laser therapy are available. Hot laser treatments are used to seal the leaking vessels within the retina and slow their growth, but unfortunately, it can destroy the tissue surrounding the vessels, leading to a small blind spot in the vision. Cold laser treatment might be capable of destroying the vessels without destroying nearby tissue, but it’s only available for vessels underneath or near the center of the macula.
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