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Macular Degeneration

– Treating Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in individuals over the age of 60. A complete medical eye examination by an ophthamologist at Yaldo Eye Center can determine if you have it.

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration? (ADM)

  • It’s the leading cause of vision loss in individuals over the age of 60
  • Common risk factors include aging, smoking, obesity, inactivity, high blood pressure and family history of macular degeneration
  • Symptoms may include seeing wavy lines, hazy vision and blurriness

In a healthy eye, the retina processes images for sight, almost like the film of a camera. At the center of your retina is an area called the macula, which controls your color vision and fine, detailed central vision. With macular degeneration, your color vision may become dim. Everyday tasks like reading, driving and recognizing faces become increasingly difficult as time goes on. It’s as if someone has dimmed the lights on your central vision, even though your peripheral vision is not affected.

The Two Stages of Macular Degeneration

  • 1: Dry (atrophic) caused by the thinning or breaking down of the macula tissue. Over 75% of patients diagnosed have dry macular degeneration.
  • 2: Wet (exudative) occurs when the small blood vessels nourishing the retina break and leak fluid and blood under the retina. Scar tissue then forms, resulting in new, fragile blood vessels that can continue to break, leak and damage the retina.

Macular Degeneration Testing and Treatment

Testing may include a color vision test, Amsler grid test and/or a fluorescein angiogram. The Amsler grid test is a repeating series of horizontal and vertical lines where one sees if any lines appear to be wavy, broken, crooked or missing. A fluroescein angiogram determines the exact condition of the macula to see if new blood vessels are forming under the retina and where they are located.

To date, there is no FDA-approved treatment for dry macular degeneration. Research and studies have indicated that high doses of antioxidants and zinc supplements may slow the progression of dry macular degeneration. Many different low vision aids including magnifying glasses and bright reading lights are available. The FDA has approved a new injectable drug therapy which show promising results.

The eye surgeons at Yaldo Eye Center take an individualized approach to treating macular degeneration and will discuss treatment plans with you at length.

 

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