What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a disease that affects your macula, which is located in the center of your retina at the back of the eye and allows you to see fine details. When the macula deteriorates, your central vision becomes blurred, hindering your ability to read or drive. This disease is not painful and may people who are diagnosed, especially in the early stages, are able to lead productive lives.
What causes it?
Macular degeneration primarily results from the natural aging process and genetics. Smoking, obesity and gender may also contribute to the disease. It is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans over 60 years of age. (*)
There are two different forms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): Dry AMD or Wet AMD. Dry AMD, which is more common, is much more difficult to detect, as vision loss is often gradual and initially may only affect one eye. This form of AMD is often a result of thinning tissue in the macula.
Wet AMD is more serious and accounts for approximately 10% of all AMD cases. (**) When abnormal blood vessels form under the retina, they leak blood or fluid resulting in blurred central vision. Vision loss may occur quickly. Straight lines that appear wavy may be an early indication of Wet AMD. If you notice this change in your vision or any other change, you should contact your Ophthalmologist immediately.
Can it be treated?
If you’ve been diagnosed with macular degeneration, the good news is that there are now medications available to help slow down your vision loss and allow you to maintain an active lifestyle. Since macular degeneration may not be noticed in its early stages, it is very important to maintain regular eye exams, so that we can detect any changes in your vision. We treat this disease every day and have successfully helped many people maintain their vision.
Call us today to schedule your eye exam at (757) 345-3001.
* U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute, NIH Publication No: 03-2294, Age-Related Macular Degeneration, What you should know, © 2003.
**American Academy of Ophthalmology, Macular Degeneration, A Closer Look, © 2006.