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What causes macular eye degeneration in older adults?

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Quick Answer

Macular eye degeneration occurs when the cells in the macula become destroyed, making the eye unable to distinguish light sources, states Healthline. This condition develops as the eyes age, causing the macula to become thin and break down, according to Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Macular eye degeneration is a typical cause of severe vision loss in older adults. It occurs from the deterioration of the macula, the central portion of the retina. A dry form of macular degeneration occurs from the formation of yellow deposits in the macula, leading to distortion of vision and tissue death, called atrophy. In severe cases, patients can lose central vision, states WebMD.

A wet form of macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow from the choroid underneath the macula, causing leaking of fluid and blood into the retina. The bleeding from these blood vessels eventually forms a scar, causing a permanent loss of central vision, notes WebMD.

Early stages of macular degeneration may have no noticeable symptoms, making the patient unaware of the presence of this condition. A blurry and dim spot in the middle of the vision is the first sign of the problem, explains WebMD. Although this condition is primarily associated with aging, it can pass from parents to children, and risk factors include smoking, lack of nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle, claims Healthline.

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