An Overview of Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in our country. As life expectancy increases and Americans are living longer, more and more people are being diagnosed with this condition. Macular degeneration is a progressive disease that slowly effects central vision over time and can lead to permanent vision loss, but being diagnosed with this condition does not mean all hope is lost. Continue reading to learn more about diagnosing, treating, and living with macular degeneration.
What is Macular Degeneration?
This condition has many different names, including macular degeneration, age-related macular degeneration, and AMD. It is a progressive disease that affects the macula, which is the center area of the retina. The macula allows us to see fine details, colors, and provides us with “20/20” vision. Many highly visual tasks such as reading small print, identifying colors, and even recognizing faces, rely on a fully-functioning macula. In macular degeneration, the retinal tissue in the macula area slowly deteriorates over time. In the beginning of the disease,small clumps of waste material, called drusen, begin to accumulate in the macula and over time, this accumulation of drusen can cause extensive and permanent tissue damage. Damage in the macula will result in frustrating visual symptoms such as central distortions, blurred vision, or even blind spots. These symptoms can become increasingly noticeable as the disease progresses and more retinal tissue is damaged.
In the early stages if the disease, the condition is commonly referred to as dry macular degeneration. Dry AMD can begin with a few scattered drusen and slight retinal damage, and the vision is usually only mildly affected. As dry macular degeneration progresses, more extensive tissue damage can occur and vision can become more severely affected. As retinal damage continues to occur, it can eventually result in bleeding underneath the retina. When this bleeding occurs it is referred to as wet macular degeneration. In the case of wet macular degeneration, vision loss is usually more severe and can result in significant permanent vision changes.
Living with Dry and Wet AMD
Currently there is no cure for dry or wet macular degeneration. However, there are several treatment options or lifestyle modifications that can be considered throughout the course of the condition. Some measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration include wearing protecting sunglasses while outside, withholding from using tobacco products, and eating a diet rich in colorful vegetables and leafy greens.
If you are affected by dry AMD, your eye doctor may recommend a vitamin supplement known as the AREDS 2 formula. This specially designed supplement contains essential ingredients that have been clinically proven to help reduce the risk of progression in cases of moderate dry macular degeneration. Your optometrist can help you decide if this supplement is right for you. In cases of wet macular degeneration, procedures such as ocular injections or laser treatments can help prevent further tissue damage. For those who have already experienced vision loss and are struggling to adapt, vision specialists can help recommend devices such as magnifiers, telescopes, or adaptive technology in order to maximize vision and preserve independence.
At EyeDocs Family Eye Care, you will recieve only the highest quality eye exam with our eye doctor in Brookville, Ohio. Call us at 937-770-1265 or schedule an eye exam appointment online with Dr.Kyle Maxam or Dr. Kara Wampler for your eye exam with a Brookville eye doctor. The next time you need an evaluation for dry or wet macular degeneration (AMD) be sure to come to EyeDocs where we always put the care of you and your family first with our eye care in Brookville, OH.
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