Drusen: Causes, Symptoms, and Risks

Under the retina, drusen are yellow deposits. Lipids and proteins make up the drusen. Drusen are not thought to be a cause of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Drusen, on the other hand, raises a person’s risk of developing AMD and can be a symptom of the disease.

Different types of drusen exist. For a long time, if at all, small drusen may not cause vision problems. Drusen that are larger raise the risk of advanced AMD, which can lead to vision loss.

What Are the Causes of Drusen?
Drusen develop naturally as people get older. The precise relationship between drusen and degenerative macular disease is unknown. Getting large drusen, on the other hand, is a sign of AMD.

Drusen of the Optic Nerve

The optic nerve may also be affected by drusen. Protein and calcium salts make up these drusen, which usually appear in both eyes. Optic nerve drusen (also known as optic disc drusen) are not related to aging, can be inherited, and typically present in infants, unlike the drusen associated with AMD. Optic nerve drusen usually have little effect on vision, but they can cause peripheral (side) vision loss in some patients.

Symptoms of Drusen
The majority of people with drusen have no symptoms. A regular eye test will sometimes disclose their existence by chance. The presence of a few tiny drusen is not a sign of eye disease. A large number of larger drusen, on the other hand, is an early indication of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Hazy vision, trouble seeing while moving from bright light to low light, and a blank or fuzzy spot in the central vision are all signs of AMD.

Optic nerve drusen do not always cause symptoms. However, some patients with optic nerve drusen suffer vision problems such as loss of peripheral (side) vision and temporary fading or graying of vision.

Who Is in Danger of Drusen?

Drusen are most frequently found in people over the age of 60 and are a product of aging. Drusen and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are more common in Caucasians (white people). Large drusen have been linked to AMD. A family history of AMD, smoking and being white are all risk factors for AMD. Obesity, high cholesterol (fat in the bloodstream), and high blood pressure are all risk factors.

White people and those with a family history of drusen have a higher chance of developing optic nerve drusen.

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