Areas of Expertise

Macular Degeneration

What is Macular Degeneration?

Prevention starts now.

You use the center of your retina, called the macula, to focus on things, read and drive. As you get older, Macular Degeneration (AMD) can cause blurriness and visual distortion, affecting how you see words and lines. This part of the retina breaks down as the eye ages and affects your direct line of sight. Symptoms include visual distortions, reduced vision, difficulty seeing without light, blurriness, dull colors and difficulty recognizing faces.

What Causes Macular Degeneration?

A poor diet, excess iron and over-exposure to bright light can cause Macular Degeneration.

  • Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss. Those suffering from this condition in its advanced form can eventually become legally blind. As you get older, Macular Degeneration (AMD) can cause blurriness and visual distortion, affecting how you see words and lines. The center of your retina breaks down as the eye ages and affects your direct line of sight. AMD is often hereditary and more likely to happen to people age 55 and over.

  • AMD occurs in 3 stages. Early AMD occurs when yellow deposits are seen below the retina and can be diagnosed during a routine eye exam. Those experiencing intermediate AMD might experience more noticeable symptoms like vision loss. Those experiencing Late AMD will see much more significant vision loss. Another form of macular degeneration called Stargardt’s disease is caused by a recessive gene and often found in younger patients.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms for AMD can be detected during a routine eye exam.

  • Visual distortions
  • Reduced vision
  • Difficulty seeing without light
  • Blurriness
  • Dull colors
  • Difficulty recognizing faces
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Prevention

There are many ways a patient can work to prevent or slow the progression of Macular Degeneration (AMD). First, work with your suite of physicians to control your health and manage your medications.

Patients who stop smoking, exercise on a regular basis and eat the right foods including Omega-3 fatty acids, like fish and walnuts, are also at lower risk.

HOW IS IT
DIAGNOSED?

Macular Degeneration can be diagnosed during a routine eye exam.

We have a number of ways Macular Degeneration can be diagnosed. During a dilated-pupil fundus exam, the eye is dilated using drops, allowing for an examination of the back of the eye for deposits and drusen. Also, we can use the Amsler Grid to evaluate if straight lines look distorted or use Fluorescein Photography and inject dye into the patient’s arm so the doctor can use a camera to track the dye as it travels through the retina. There is also a follow up test called an Indocyanine Green Angiography, that uses dye to identify the type of macular degeneration. For a more noninvasive diagnosis, an imaging test called an Optical Coherence Tomography is designed to examine cross sections of the retina.

Treatment Options

When surgery is not an option, patients who are at higher risk can slow the progression of Macular Degeneration by changing their diets, exercising more, avoiding smoking and protecting their eyes from ultraviolet light. The use of a specific vitamin combination from the AREDS Study shows that the progression of dry macular degeneration may be able to be slowed. Our physicians might also recommend Intravitreal anti-VEGF injections, steroids or antibiotics are injected into the eye to reduce fluid leakage and treat infection.

Learn more about our practices that provide these treatment options:

  • Ludwick
    Eye Center

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