Macular degeneration, also called age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD) is the leading cause of vision loss among Americans. Over eight million people have earlier stages of AMD. The doctors at Envy Eye Care can detect early signs of macular degeneration before patients experience any symptoms. There is no cure for macular degeneration, but some treatments may delay its progression or even improve vision.
Call 469.490.ENVY (3689) today or schedule an appointment online.
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. AMD affects the macula, the small central area of the retina that maintains our sharpest vision.
There are two basic types of macular degeneration (Dry AMD and Wet AMD) found in older patients:
Dry AMD is the most common form, affecting 85-90% of AMD patients. Dry AMD is due to a protein deposit in the macula that causes the retinal cells above them to lose function. Most patients will notice a gradual, painless loss of vision that progresses with time.
Wet AMD is a more visually threatening condition and accounts for 10-15% of AMD cases. It is caused by leaky blood vessels in the retina. Wet AMD can cause sudden vision loss. The vision loss caused by wet AMD is often noticed by the patient once the condition is very serious.
Patients with wet AMD typically experience more significant vision loss than those with dry AMD.
Stargardt disease is a rare macular degeneration found in young patients that is caused by a recessive gene. One in 20,000–macular degeneration is diagnosed in children and teenagers. Stargardt affects both eyes and develops sometime between the ages of six and twenty, when kids notice difficulties in reading or adapting to bright light. Like other forms of macular degeneration, there isn't a cure for it yet.
Early signs of vision loss from AMD include:
• Shadowy areas in your central vision
• Fuzzy or distorted vision
• Wavy or distorted words when reading
• Difficulty seeing details in poor lighting conditions and glare sensitivity
Many patients do not notice the symptoms of AMD if they are present in only one eye or more pronounced in one eye than the other.
Call 469.490.ENVY (3689) today or schedule an appointment online if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
What is known about age-related macular degeneration is that the causes are complex, but include both heredity and environment.
The biggest risk factor for macular degeneration is age. The risk increases as you age and the disease is most likely to occur in those 55 and older.
Other risk factors for developing macular degeneration include:
• Race - Caucasians are more likely to develop the disease than African-Americans or Hispanics/Latinos
• Gender - Women are more at risk of AMD than men
• Obesity and inactivity
• Cardiovascular disease
• High blood pressure
In addition to a complete medical history and eye exam, the doctors at Envy Eye Care may do the following tests to diagnose age-related macular degeneration:
Visual acuity test
This common eye chart test measures vision ability at various distances.
The doctors will administer eye drops in your eyes so the pupil is widened to allow a close-up examination of the eye’s retina.
Used to detect wet age-related macular degeneration, this test uses a checkerboard like grid to determine if the straight lines in the pattern appear wavy or missing to the patient. Both indications may signal the possibility of age-related macular degeneration.
There is no cure for macular degeneration. Treatments for macular degeneration depend on whether the disease is in its early-stage dry form or in the more advanced wet form.
The doctors at Envy Eye Care can diagnose and prescribe the right treatment plan to help delay the progression or even improve vision.
These self-care steps can help you detect glaucoma in its early stages, which is important in preventing vision loss or slowing its progress.
Here are some preventions that can help prevent or slow the progression of macular degeneration.
Smokers are four times more likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smoker.
People who exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight are 70% less likely to develop AMD.
Eat plenty of greens
People who consumed the most vegetables rich in carotenoids had a 43% lower risk of AMD than those who ate these foods the least.
Keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control
Controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol can protect you from macular degeneration. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that can build up in blood vessels, inhibiting blood flow necessary for maintaining health of eye tissue.
Wear sunglasses outdoors to block UV and blue light that may cause eye damage.
Annual Eye Exam
Annual eye exams can help the doctor detect AMD and monitor it so that you can receive proper treatment, if appropriate, beyond these preventive measures.
Call 469.490.ENVY (3689) today or schedule an appointment with the specialists at Envy Eye Care.