Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration 2018-04-03T11:40:28+00:00

Macular Degeneration Therapy to Preserve and Improve Your Vision

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a serious and potentially devastating disease that can cause irreversible vision loss. Although it cannot be cured, different therapies can slow the progression of the condition, preserving and even improving vision in many cases. Contact us today to learn more.

Macular degeneration (AMD) is caused by deterioration of the central portion of the retina.  This central portion, the macula, is the part of the eye with the highest visual sharpness. It greatly influences our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces and colors, and see objects in fine detail.

In its early stages, macular degeneration does not significantly affect vision. As the disease progresses, objects may appear distorted. wavy, or blurry.  In more advanced stages, central vision may be significantly impaired, or even lost.

Dry Macular Degeneration

Of the two types of macular degeneration, dry or “atrophic” is the most common.  It accounts for approximately 90% of all cases. Dry macular degeneration can be diagnosed before visual symptoms even appear.  In early AMD, your Ophthalmologist will note medium-sized druse (yellow deposits beneath the retina) while examining you. While dry macular degeneration can develop quickly, it most often advances slowly.  The impact of AMD on vision depends on how profound macular deterioration is.

Wet Macular Degeneration

Wet, or “exudative” macular degeneration affects approximately 10% of patients with AMD.  It is characterized by abnormal blood vessel growth. These blood vessels, which develop around the macula, leak blood into the tissues, creating scarring that can profoundly affect vision.

Macular degeneration is most often associated with aging. In addition, there are other risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing the condition. These include:
  • Genetics: Individuals with a family history of AMD are at higher risk of developing macular degeneration
  • Smoking: Smoking doubles the risk of AMD
  • Race: Caucasians are likelier to develop AMD than African-Americans and Hispanics
  • Medical Conditions: Such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and obesity
  • Long-term exposure to the sun without eye protection
Early detection of macular degeneration can help slow the progression of AMD and preserve your remaining eyesight.  At your regular eye exam, our Ophthalmologists will screen you for macular degeneration by:

  • Monitoring the stability of your eye sight
  • Checking for visual distortions by having you look at a special grid
  • Using dilating eye drops to thoroughly view your retina and assess the health of your macula
  • Creating a precise 3D map of your macula by using Optical Coherence Tomography, which passes light waves through your eye to look for abnormalities
For dry AMD, there are several lifestyle changes that can impact the progression of the disease. These include smoke cessation, blood pressure control, regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and use of sunglasses with a UVA and UVB rating of 99 to 100 percent.

For wet AMD, several types of medications can be injected into the eye; these medications signal the body to stop producing the damaging blood vessels. Some patients also undergo light therapy for wet AMD. In this treatment approach, medication is injected in the eye and then activated by a specialized light. Together, the medication and light seal abnormal blood vessels and stop them from leaking. Laser treatments can also be performed to cause the blood vessels to coagulate and cease leaking.

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