Stay Sharp! Early Detection and Treatment of Age-Related Macular Degeneration is Essential
These are the years meant to cherish the smiles and special moments you've been looking forward to. Don't wait if you suspect AMD. Call us today to speak to a specialist.
AMD, or short for age-related macular degeneration, is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain.
I love my role as a teacher for my patients. So let’s start here with a bit of anatomical detail. The macula in your eye is the small portion of the retina located on the inside back layer of the eye. AMD, or short for age-related macular degeneration, is a disease that occurs when changes occur in that backside eye area. You begin to experience the loss of central vision, or seeing things straight on, right in front of you. I have seen and treated cases of AMD in two forms: "dry" (atrophic) or "wet" (exudative).
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Most AMD patients develop the dry form, and unfortunately, we have which no treatment for it. Meanwhile, someone with wet AMD may responds to laser procedures, medication or injections but only if it’s diagnosed and treated early. Let’s put the emphasis on early here. Don’t wait to call an expert if you suspect AMD. This condition is not going to clear up on its own Take action. Call me.
AMD is the number one reason for severe vision loss in people over age 50. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1.8 million people have AMD and another 7.3 million are at substantial risk for vision loss from AMD.
If you are white, your risks are higher for developing AMD and if you are a woman, you are more likely to develop it earlier than a man.
What Are the 5 Signs of AMD?
Macular degeneration can go unnoticed so be aware of early symptoms.
- Gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly.
- Shape of objects appears distorted.
- Straight lines look wavy or crooked
- Loss of clear color vision
- A dark or empty area in the center of vision.
If you experience any of these, contact an eye doctor immediately for a comprehensive eye examination. If you call me, I will perform a variety of tests to see what is causing your eye problems or if it really is AMD.
What Treatments Are Available?
I know that I said that treatment options were limited and in fact, central vision lost to macular degeneration cannot be restored but there are several low-vision devices available to make your visual life possible. For instance, I might prescribe telescopic and microscopic lenses that will improve your vision.
What’s really happening in cases of "dry" macular degeneration is that the tissue of the macula has gradually become so thin that it can’t work properly. There is no cure for dry AMD, and, as I’ve explained, any loss in central vision cannot be restored.
The good news is that researchers and doctors can see a link between nutrition and the progression of dry AMD. You can stop this degeneration by making dietary changes and taking nutritional supplements to slow vision loss. Call me so I can help you make these critical changes to your diet.
Meanwhile, "wet" macular degeneration happens when fluids suddenly start leaking from blood vessels under the macula. This kind of vision loss is often rapid and severe, caused by fluids blurring central your eyesight.
Wet AMD can be treated with laser surgery, but only if it is caught ear. The procedure I use often is called photocoagulation. Basically, what I do is focus a beam of light to stop and seal the leaking blood vessels wreaking havoc to the macula. Or I might opt for photodynamic therapy (PDT), where a medication is injected into your blood, and then activated by shining a laser into your eye.
Medicine can also be injected directly into the back of the eye to slow the growth of leaky blood vessels. I have to point out that none of these are permanent, but they do minimize vision loss. Research is showing that nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc will reduce the risk of certain eye diseases, including macular degeneration. For more information on the importance of good nutrition and eye health, please see the diet and nutrition section. But the best step to take is call me so we can sit down together and come up with a plan to save your eyesight.