MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Bobby Lang is a macular degeneration patient of Dr. Chris Teichmiller's. The central part of his vision is gone.
"I lost my glasses and I had some new ones made and I couldn't see as well. I carried them back twice to have them check them," said Lang.
A visit with the eye doctor revealed the problem was not with his glasses, but his right eye.
"I think macular degeneration is really scary because it can take away one's central vision, so you don't lose eyesight, but you lose the ability to see clearly in that detailed vision," said Chris Teichmiller, Lang's physician.
"My peripheral vision out of that eye is good," said Lang. "I know you're a blond. I know what color clothes you have on, but I would have a little difficulty making out you're facial expressions," said Lang.
This photograph of his eye showed where scar tissue is. Because his other eye is good, he said he really doesn't have any major vision problems.
Dr. Teichmiller said there are some lifestyle issues involved with the disease.
"It does have a tendency to run in families, but there are a lot of environmental factors," said Teichmiller. "Smoking increases your risk for macular degeneration by over 50 percent, and there are also some dietary restrictions too."
There are supplements, some prescription and some over the counter medicines that can help. Eating dark green, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are also beneficial for age related dry macular degeneration.
Another thing you can do to help protect your eyes is to invest in a good pair of sunglasses. Make sure they are wide and make sure they offer both UVA and UVB protection.
"Macular degeneration can take two forms. One is dry and one is wet."
The "wet" form can occur in younger patients, but the "dry" form usually happens when we get older.
"The older you get, the more likely you are to get macular degeneration," said Teichmiller.
Experts said the best way to prevent the disease is to visit your eye doctor on a regular basis.