Macular Degeneration is a common disease of the retina among older adults as it is usually an age-related condition. It’s a disease that may exhibit no symptoms in some people, while others may experience blurriness and distortion in their central vision. This is due to damage to the macula.
The macula is the central region of the retina and is responsible for capturing the images you see, much like the film in a camera. The macula is responsible for central vision including reading, writing, color vision and recognizing faces. When the macula becomes damaged, either due to age, disease or trauma, it can cause vision to blur or become distorted, or in more extreme cases, to lose central vision all together. When the macula is damaged it can make it impossible to read or drive a car. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common disease of the macula and is the leading cause in visual disability in people over age 65.
Types of AMD
Most AMD cases are what’s known as Dry AMD. This is the most common and less severe type of AMD, which is characterized by small, whitish-yellow deposits under the retina. Dry AMD must be closely monitored over time to ensure that it doesn’t turn into Wet AMD, which is a more severe form of the disease. Wet AMD causes the development of fragile blood vessels in the macula that leak or bleed, causing damage and scarring that can cause vision loss.
How is AMD Treated?
Your eye doctor can diagnose AMD during a comprehensive eye exam with dilation. If you are diagnosed with Dry AMD, your doctor will want to monitor you closely, and may suggest a specific formulation of vitamins and minerals that can modestly reduce your risk of vision loss. In addition to these steps, you may be given what is called an Amsler Grid, which is an eye test you can perform at home to note any changes to your vision. If you do note any change, immediately schedule an appointment with your retinal specialist at Tyson Eye.
There are also lifestyle changes you can make to improve your prognosis, including:
- Stop Smoking – smoking has been associated with higher risks of AMD and vision loss.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
- Control high blood pressure.
- Increase your intake of Omega 3 fatty acids (found in certain foods like some fish and nuts).
If you have Wet AMD, there are new pharmacologic therapies that have been developed, called Anti-VEGF agents, which can help block the growth of new and leaking blood vessels. Talk to your doctor about the treatment that might be right for you.
Come See Us
If you have a family history of macular degeneration, are having symptoms of central vision loss, or are concerned about your eye health, schedule an appointment with Tyson Eye right away.
Tyson Eye is regarded as one of the premier eye care centers in Southwest Florida. Our surgeons and doctors have helped thousands of people enjoy better vision and have consistently introduced break-through technology to the area. Tyson Eye is committed to excellence by delivering modern technology with old fashioned concern. Contact us for a free consultation today or call 239-542-2020.