Managing Macular Degeneration to Preserve Your Sight
Macular degeneration (AMD) is an age-related eye disease that is most likely to affect patients over 60. About 11 million Americans suffer from AMD. At Rockland Eye Physicians & Surgeons, with offices in West Nyack and Garnerville, NY, helping our patients protect their vision is our priority. Patients with an escalated form of the disease may notice dark or empty areas in the center of their field of vision. However, we can identify AMD in the earliest stages during routine eye exams. While there is no cure for this condition, our doctors can recommend various macular degeneration treatments that can potentially decelerate or even halt the progression of the disease.
What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration occurs when the macula (the center of the retina) begins to deteriorate. This condition can significantly affect your vision. There are two types of macular degeneration:
The most common type is dry AMD. Distorted vision is caused by the accumulation of yellow deposits called drusen on the macula. Over time, the drusen deposits grow larger, further impacting your vision.
While less common, wet AMD can occur when dry AMD goes untreated. It is characterized by the growth of abnormal blood vessels beneath the retina. These vessels can begin to leak, which causes the retina to swell, severely compromising central vision.
Ideally, this condition is diagnosed during an eye exam prior to the presentation of any noticeable symptoms. However, if the disease has progressed undetected, patients may notice blurred or fuzzy vision, straight lines appearing wavy, or a dark or grey area in the central field of vision. We highly encourage our patients to schedule an appointment with us as soon as any change in vision is noticed. It is also important to undergo regular eye exams with us so that the condition can be detected as early as possible.
AMD Risk Factors
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to a patient's likelihood of developing macular degeneration:
- Being over age 50
- Being female (since women tend to live longer than men)
- Having a family history of the condition
- Severe nearsightedness
Diagnosing Macular Degeneration
Diagnosis of macular degeneration may involve:
- Eye drops to make irregularities within the eye more visible
- An Amsler grid test to pinpoint vision distortions
- Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) which is a non-invasive imaging test of the retina
- Fluorescein angiography to evaluate the blood vessels within the retina
Early diagnosis of macular degeneration can allow us to implement conservative methods to manage the progression of the disease. These can include adopting a diet rich in antioxidants or stopping smoking.
If you are experiencing wet AMD, laser treatment can be administered to seal leaking blood vessels that threaten the health of the retina. Your doctor may also recommend injections of anti-angiogenic drugs that can stop new blood vessels from developing.
While there is no cure for this condition, we offer several macular degeneration treatments that can halt the progression of the disease.
Our doctors have helped many patients to slow or stop the progression of AMD, and can work with you to determine the best treatment plan.
The team at Rockland Eye Physicians & Surgeons is dedicated to improving your quality of life through advanced, personalized solutions. If you are experiencing vision changes, or if you are not undergoing regular eye exams, book an appointment with us. You can schedule a consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (845) 947-2240.