What Causes Drusen Eye Disease?


Quick Answer

Drusen eye disease results when the eye fails to eliminate wastes that the eye cells produce, explains eyeSmart. This reduction in the eye's ability to eliminate waste products occurs as a natural consequence of the aging process.

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What Causes Drusen Eye Disease?
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Full Answer

Drusen can be either hard or soft, states eyeSmart. Hard drusen do not require any treatment, but soft drusen are more concerning because they are a warning sign of a condition called age-related macular degeneration. Hard drusen may later turn into soft drusen, so they should be monitored for changes despite them not being cause for concern in themselves.

Another type of drusen is an optic nerve drusen, which is an accumulation of protein and calcium salts inside of the optic nerve, notes the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. The condition usually has no impact on a patient's vision, although it can sometimes cause gradual loss of a small amount of peripheral vision that the patient never notices because the change is so minimal. In rare cases, this form of drusen can lead to the development of a blood vessel abnormality called a choroidal neovascular membrane, which may result in the patient's central vision decreasing suddenly.

There is no treatment available for optic nerve drusen, as of 2015, according to eyeSmart. Doctors sometimes use laser treatment in cases where a choroidal neovascular membrane develops.

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