Macular Degeneration

 

Macular Degeneration

macular degeneration treatmentThe leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 55, in the United States, is a condition called Macular Degeneration. In the United States alone, over 10 million Americans are either visually impaired or suffer from blindness due to this condition.  Some even suffer from irreversible blindness. Although there is presently no cure, early diagnosis and precautions may prevent the condition from progressing.

 

What is age-related macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration is a condition where the macula, the primary focal point of the retina inside the eye, deteriorates.  Central vision is impaired first, affecting fine, detailed vision, i.e. small reading sized print.  As the condition progresses, viewing of larger objects is impaired, i.e. faces.  One eye may be affected more than the other, and peripheral vision remains intact. There is no pain associated with this condition and therefore those affected often don’t notice the vision loss until a significant portion of their vision is gone.

 

macular degenerationWhat are the primary risk factors associated with macular degeneration?

• Age

• Family history of macular degeneration

• Smoking

• U/V exposure

• Poor diet (particularly those with low consumption of fruits &

vegetables)

 

How is Macular Degeneration Diagnosed?

Regular eye exams are vital to detecting this condition in its initial stages. We view the macula of every patient directly during every eye examination, looking for drusen (the waste deposits associated with dry macular degeneration) and blood vessel leakage (wet macular degeneration).

 

For patients age 18 and older, we also perform an Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) scan, which is state of the art technology helping in detection and monitoring of this condition.

 

Can macular degeneration be cured?

Currently, there is no cure for macular degeneration, but there are measures that can be taken to slow the progression of the condition, so early detection is vital.  More advanced forms of the disease may also require treatment by an ophthalmologist  who specializes in this condition.

 

General recommendations regarding macular degeneration:

• Schedule your eye examination, even if you do not think you have symptoms of this condition

• Wear sunglasses with U/V protection regularly

• Don’t smoke

• Maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition

 

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