Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration is a type of disease which causes the progressive damage to the macula (the center part retina that permits us for seeing fine details). Once the macula deteriorates, persons can experience the blurredness or darkness at the center of their visualization.

The macular degeneration can lead to the loss of central vision that is very much needed for important activities such as driving, reading, and recognition of faces. Peripheral sight is generally preserved into macular degeneration, hence, blindness does not normally occur even to the advanced stage of the macular disease. On the other hand, central vision losses impair ability on performing most of the activities in the everyday living and cause more difficulties for the person to live independent lives.

2 forms of macular degeneration:

  • Atrophic or Dry Macular: it is the common form of this disease and reports for 90 percent of the total AMD. Classic laceration in this dry macular is called the Geographic atrophy that causes harsh center visual loss. It has no available treatment; laser or others that can stop or overturn the persisting progression of the dry macular degeneration that is related to visual loss. The sign of lesion that can lead to the progress of Geographic atrophy was a small yellow-colored macular lesion known as “drusen”
  • Neovascular or Wet Macular: it is the less common form but it is also the most severe compared to the dry form. It reports at roughly 10 percent of the total AMD but 90 percent from all the blindness caused by the disease. It is portrayed by choroidal neovascularization also known as the CNV, the progress of the blood vessels that are abnormal underneath the RPE layer of the retina.

Development of the Macular Degeneration

Drusen develop from harder form to soft. It multiplies in number, sizes and joins together to finally develop into the dry or wet degeneration of macular. In addition, the pigment changes take place into the retina, and the danger of developing the dry and then wet macular will increase noticeably.

All in all, the danger of the development of the macular disease is powerfully dependent to ages and the stages of age-relating maculopathy. As a result, the person at 80 years and older has a very high risk of developing the macular degeneration after the next five years.

The risk in the early development of maculopathy is then depending on the ages. Once you have a normal retina, after five years the risk of developing the retinal changes of maculopathy is approximately 0.7 percent if you are 60 years or less and 22.5 percent if you are above 80 years old.

When one eye is suffering from macular degeneration, the other one is also at a very high risk of developing the disease as well.

Those diagnosed with macular degeneration often undergo a period of great emotion. Anger, sadness, depression, and despair can result because of the poor eyesight that comes with macular degeneration. Sufferers often find that they cannot partake in favorite pastimes or activities like sewing or golf because they can no longer see things within their central vision.

Macular degeneration sufferers can no longer read books, write out checks, find phone numbers in a directory, watch television, or see the facial expressions of their loved ones. Simple tasks become impossible and frustration is common. Patients may feel alone because no one they know can relate to macular degeneration’s devastating effects. Not even a new prescription for glasses can restore the individual’s poor eyesight. Many age-related macular degeneration patients fear that they will go to sleep and wake up to nothing but complete darkness.

What Is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is a debilitating eye disease affecting the elderly. Within the eye is the macula, an area that allows people to see fine details and colors. Macular degeneration prevents the macula from properly functioning and the vision becomes blurred. The most distinguishing aspect of this eye disease is that round spots cover the sufferer’s field of vision so that it is difficult to see things that are straight ahead. Fine details are impossible to see, but the person’s peripheral vision is unchanged.

There are two types of age-related macular degeneration: dry and wet.

Dry age-related macular degeneration is the result of fatty tissues called drusen building up beneath the retina. Wet macular degeneration is caused by abnormal blood vessels forming in the eye. Up to 90 percent of people diagnosed with macular degeneration have the dry form.

Learn to Adapt with Low Vision Aids

Being diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration can be quite frightening. The important thing is to ask your retina specialist the right questions so that you know what to expect and how to properly cope with this eye disease. your eye doctor can direct you to some important things that may help you manage your condition.

For instance, you might invest in some special lighting that can prevent glare. Optical devices and magnifiers are available for you to see things better close up, but you might have to shop around to find the best one to suit your individual needs. Large print books may enable you to continue with a cherished pastime – reading! Reading machines have given many people with macular degeneration the ability to cope with this eye disease by reading aloud information to users.

Tips on How to Prevent and Reverse Age-Related Macular Degeneration

One leading cause of vision loss and blindness is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD). In this condition, the retina becomes blocked by debris, which affects your central vision. Central vision is your “straight ahead” vision, the kind of vision you need to read, drive, or do any kind of activity in which you need to focus in front of you. Macular degeneration does not affect your peripheral vision. People who suffer from macular degeneration see black spots and wavy lines that obliterate or distort the objects in front of them. Age-related macular degeneration can deplete vision up to 60 percent and is one of the more prevalent causes of age-related blindness. While we don’t know exactly what causes macular degeneration, we do know that poor blood supply to the eye, oxidization of the retina, and leaky capillaries can all contribute to this condition.

Unfortunately, age-related macular degeneration can’t be simply treated with eye drops or lenses. Because doctors aren’t sure what causes macular degeneration, there is no medically accepted cure. As a matter of fact, if you’ve already been diagnosed with macular degeneration, chances are your doctor has told you there’s nothing you can do, aside from learning to accept the idea that blindness is in your future.

However, you don’t have to accept the fact that you are going to go slowly but surely blind as a result of age-related macular degeneration. While there are no pills that you can take to slow or stop macular degeneration, while eye drops and special lenses won’t save your vision, there are things you can do to stop, slow down, and even reverse age-related macular degeneration. What’s more, as additional research is being done, more and more progressive eye specialists agree that there are steps you can take to maintain or restore your vision in a safe, natural way.

Do you want to halt, delay, or even reverse macular degeneration? The answer lies making new lifestyle choices. Stopping, slowing, and reversing your macular degeneration is as easy if you follow the 6 easy steps below. These steps are safe and natural, and you have absolutely nothing to lose by trying them. Best of all, these healthy lifestyle choices will not only have a positive impact on your eyes, they will have a positive impact on your overall health in general.

  • See your Eye Doctor

Macular degeneration isn’t commonly talked about, and many people don’t know what it is until they’ve been diagnosed with it. Be sure to have your eyes checked annually, and ask your doctor to test you for macular degeneration. In order to determine whether you have macular degeneration, your doctor will ask you to look at a tool called an “Amsler chart.” This chart is essentially a grid with a black dot in the middle. If, after focusing on the dot in the middle of the graph, you see shaky, uneven, or undulating lines, you are most likely experiencing the early stages of macular degeneration. A dark spot or blob in the center of the graph may also indicate macular degeneration. your ophthalmologist will characterize your macular degeneration as either “wet” or “dry.” “Dry” macular degeneration is the less serious of the two types and accounts for about 90 percent of all cases of macular degeneration. Unfortunately, there is no surgery, drug, drop, or lens that can treat “dry” macular degeneration. Severe “wet” macular degeneration can be treated with last-ditch efforts designed to preserve sight for an additional amount of time, but these treatments carry significant risk and offer no long-term solution.

  • Take Stock of Prescription Drugs

Some experts believe that aspirin, Ibuprofen, and other NSAIDs can cause retinal hemorrhages in the blood vessels, which can then develop into Macular Degeneration. People with high blood pressure are particularly at risk for developing retinal blood vessel issues as a result of taking NSAIDs. Other drugs that have a negative effect on the retina and may contribute to macular degeneration include Plaquenil and Cortisone. Talk to your doctor about replacement drugs if you take any of the above drugs.

  • Protect your Eyes from the Sun

UV-A and UV-B rays, as well as Blue Light, cause oxidization in the retina, which contributes to macular degeneration. Investing in a high-quality pair of sunglasses that filters out these dangerous rays, and wearing a hat with a brim, will protect your eyes.

  • Add Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements to your Daily Diet.

There are a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and supplements known to contribute to eye health, including vitamins A, C, D, and E, omega 3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, magnesium, garlic, zeaxanthin and lutein, selenium, taurine, N-acetyl cysteine, zinc, hydrochloric acid, coenzyme Q-10, boron, chromium, copper, and manganese. The best place to find eye-healthy vitamins and minerals? In your food. But to be sure you’re getting enough of what you need, take a multi-vitamin that includes the majority of the above vitamins and minerals, and supplement with anything it doesn’t include.

  • Up your Antioxidants and Amino Acids

Because one of the causes of macular degeneration is oxidization of the retina, it makes sense that adding antioxidants to your diet can help fight off macular degeneration. Lack of antioxidants in the diet can allow free radicals to multiply, causing more blocked capillaries in the retina. Be sure your diet contains plenty of vitamins C and E, quercetin, bilberry, selenium, bioflavonoids, beta-carotene, and Ginko Biloba. Plenty of amino acids in the form of N-Acetyl cysteine, L-glutathione, L-glutamine, and L-cysteine are also integral for eye health.

  • Watch your Fat and Cholesterol Intake

Diets rich in saturated fat and cholesterol increase macular degeneration by 80 percent. Stick to mono-unsaturated fats like olive oil, and eat healthfully by incorporating natural carbohydrates such as beans, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Eating plenty of soy protein and fish, as well as having one alcoholic drink per day if it fits into your lifestyle, can boost your good cholesterol levels.

It is important to realize that one should take precautions before hand if there is a family history of the disease or if there are risk factors. Macular degeneration treatment can be benefited by taking supplemental nutrients such as lutein will help protect the macula. Beta-carotene, while important for the eye, has little impact on the macula. Making sure that one’s diet is low in fat is also important as the disease is higher in those who eat diets high in fat.

Macular Degeneration And Occupational Disability

Long Term Disability Insurance definitions vary. Here are some typical ones:

you are disabled when the Insurance Company determines that:

    • you are limited from performing the material and substantial duties of your regular occupation due to your sickness or injury; and – you have a 20% or more loss in your indexed monthly earnings due to the same sickness or injury.

After 36 months of payments, you are disabled the Insurance Company determines that due to the same sickness or injury, you are unable to perform the duties of any gainful occupation for which you are reasonably fitted by education, training or experience

Note how the definition changes after 36 months.

Here is another

Total Disability or Totally Disabled means during your Elimination Period and the next Own Occupation Period (shown in the Benefit Highlights), you, because of your Injury or Sickness, are unable to perform the Material and Substantial Duties of your Own Occupation.  After Total or’ Partial Disability benefits combined have been paid to you for Own Occupation Period (shown in the Benefit Highlights), you will continue to be considered Totally Disabled if you are unable to perform, with reasonable continuity, any Gainful Occupation for which you are or become reasonably qualified for by education, training or experience.

And another

you will be considered totally disabled if all these conditions are met:

  1. you are unable to do the substantial and material duties of your regular occupation.  your regular occupation is your usual work when total disability starts.  If you are retired and not working when total disability starts, your regular occupation will be the normal activities of a retired person of like age; and
  2. your total disability starts while this policy is in force; and
  3. your total disability results from sickness or injury; and
  4. you are receiving medical care from a doctor which is appropriate for the injury or sickness.  When in the opinion of the doctor future care would be of no benefit to you, then the requirement of receiving medical care will be considered to be met.  Doctor means all providers of medical care other than yourself, when such services are within the scope of the provider’s licensed authority.

And California has its own common law definition

California law requires courts to deviate from total disability definitions in some instances Hangarter v. Provident Life and Acc. Ins. Co, 373 F.3d 998, 1006 (9th Cir. 2004). Sometimes, it’s called the Erreca standard. California requires when coverage for “any occupation” is too narrow, the Court must read a common sense definition into the policy based on two cases.  Erreca v. Western States Life Insurance Company, 19 Cal. 2d 388 (Cal. 1942), and Moore v. American United Life Insurance Company, 150 Cal. App. 3d 610 (Cal. Ct. App. 1984). These two cases, when read together define total disability “does not signify an absolute state of helplessness but means such a disability as renders the insured unable to perform the substantial and material acts necessary to the prosecution of a business or occupation in the usual or customary way.”