Age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD or macular degeneration, is one of the leading causes of blindness in women and men over age fifty. Age-related macular degeneration is a progressive condition, meaning it can worsen your eyesight over time.
In more advanced cases of AMD, treatment is necessary to improve vision and prevent worsening of the condition. Keep reading to learn more about macular degeneration and how it’s treated!
What is Macular Degeneration?
AMD is a painless, chronic eye condition that affects the macula. The macula is a tiny but essential part of your retina that is responsible for your central vision.
The macula is found at the center of the retina at the back of your eye. It allows you to see fine detail and color.
Macular degeneration causes permanent loss of your central vision.
However, it doesn’t result in total blindness as your side or peripheral vision remains intact.
The loss of central vision impacts your ability to drive, read, watch TV, recognize faces, and perform other activities that require central vision.
What Are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration can affect one or both eyes. Early on, you may not notice any vision changes.
However, as the condition progresses, you might experience the following symptoms:
- Blurred or distorted vision
- Colors appearing faded
- Empty or dark spot in your central vision
- Straight lines appearing crooked or wavy
What are the Types of Macular Degeneration?
There are two main forms of AMD:
Dry Macular Degeneration
The dry form is the most common form and the least severe of the two.
Dry AMD develops slowly due to the buildup of drusen in the macula.
Drusen are yellow deposits consisting of proteins and lipids. Some people who develop dry AMD will go on to develop the wet version of the condition.
Wet Macular Degeneration
Wet macular degeneration is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula. These fragile blood vessels easily leak fluid or blood, resulting in blind spots and loss of central vision.
In the advanced stages of wet AMD, the bleeding can cause scar formation and lead to irreversible loss of central vision. Wet AMD is less common than dry AMD.
However, it tends to cause rapid and more severe vision loss. Thus, it’s vital to seek treatment immediately to avoid permanent blindness.
What is the Treatment for Macular Degeneration?
AMD treatment can delay the progression of damage to your central vision. Early dry AMD doesn’t require treatment.
However, you’ll need regular eye exams so that your eye doctor can monitor your condition. For intermediate dry AMD, your doctor may suggest high doses of certain minerals and vitamins to slow the progression of the disease and delay or even prevent vision loss.
The following treatments are used for wet AMD:
These drugs are injected into the back of your eye. They block the action of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), a protein that encourages the formation of abnormal blood vessels.
The injections are repeated over time to maintain their effect.
The treatment combines verteporfin–a light-sensitive drug with a cold laser to help seal off leaky blood vessels under the retina. Photodynamic therapy can help slow down damage to your central vision.
Photocoagulation uses a high-energy laser beam to seal off abnormal blood vessels under your macula.
Protect Your Sight from Macular Degeneration
There’s no cure for macular degeneration. However, treatment can help delay its progression, so early detection through regular eye exams at Morganton Eye is very important. When Macular degeneration is diagnosed early, our experienced eye doctors can take steps to protect your vision.
Are you experiencing vision changes? Schedule an appointment at Morganton Eye Physicians in Shelby, NC, today!