Although in its early stages there may not be any symptoms, some of the first signs of macular degeneration involve distorted vision, often near the center of vision, reports WebMD. This is usually most obvious when looking at straight lines.
Some people also notice darkened and blurry spots in the center of vision, notes WebMD. Others see blank or white spots. Some people also develop problems perceiving colors, but this is more rare.
These symptoms occur because the macula is located in the center of the retina, according to the National Eye Institute. It is a small part of the eye, but it is essential for seeing clearly while looking straight ahead. The condition is progressive, but it rarely results in total blindness. However, it is important to seek treatment because it can prevent people from driving, reading or doing other important tasks.
There are ways for people to minimize their risk of developing macular degeneration or to slow down the progression of the disease, notes AMD.org. Smokers are at a significantly higher risk, so quitting smoking is helpful. A healthy lifestyle, including eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, can also lower the risk. Protection from the sun is important. People should wear a hat when outdoors and use high-quality UV-blocking sunglasses when possible.