Macular degeneration, also known as Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), is the deterioration and disease of the macula, an area of the retina at the back of the eye that is responsible for fine detail vision. With AMD, vision loss usually occurs gradually and typically affects both eyes at different rates. Because of its slow progression, many people may not notice the change in their vision.  However, for others, it may occur more rapidly and can cause complete loss of vision.

 

Symptoms

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

  • Blurred vision
  • The perception that objects “jump” when you try to look right at them
  • Straight lines that appear crooked
  • Blind spot in center of vision

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 1-866-340-EYES to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

 

Types of macular degeneration

There are two forms of age-related macular degeneration – wet and dry.

Wet macular degeneration (exudative) is more advanced and can progress quickly leading to distorted or blurred vision and, in some cases, a rapid and severe loss of straight ahead vision.

Dry macular degeneration (atrophic) – the vast majority of cases of macular degeneration are the dry type, which progresses very slowly and does not always affect both eyes equally. However, over time it can lead to a loss of central vision.

 

Causes

Some of the main risk factors for Age Related Macular Degeneration include:

  • Age: Macular degeneration is the leading cause of decreased vision in people over 65 years of age.
  • Family History: Macular degeneration appears to be hereditary in some families
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes

The root causes of macular degeneration are still unknown. Women are at a slightly higher risk than men and Caucasians are more likely to develop macular degeneration than African Americans.

 

Treatment

While there is no cure for macular degeneration, there are treatments to help patients manage the condition and help preserve their vision by slowing it’s progression. The type of treatment you receive will depend on how severe and what type of AMD you have, as well as if you have any vision loss.

  • Diet and Nutritional Supplements – Research has shown that a healthy diet rich in antioxidants can reduce the risk of developing advanced AMD.  In addition to foods that contain these naturally, your doctor may recommend combining that with nutritional supplements.
  • Medications – medications may be recommended for patients with more advanced AMD. These medications are administered by your doctor through periodic injections into the eye.  It is a procedure done in the clinic and is usually not painful because the doctor will numb your eye before giving you the injection.
  • Laser Treatments – in rare cases a laser treatment may be recommended to destroy the abnormal, leaking blood vessels under the retinal.

 

For patients that have experienced decreased vision  due to AMD, your doctor will discuss low vision aid options that are available to help make it easier to live with the decreased vision.

If you have any concerns or think you may be experiencing symptoms of macular degeneration, give us a call at 866-340-EYES to schedule an appointment.