Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss, and unfortunately, there are more than 10 million people in the U.S. who are currently suffering from it.
If you were recently diagnosed with macular degeneration, you need an eye doctor you can trust to provide you with the treatment you need. Ophthalmology Associates of WNY can help.
What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration occurs when the macula of your eye, which is a part of your retina responsible for controlling visual acuity, deteriorates.
Your macula is what allows you to be able to read, drive, watch TV, recognize the faces of other people, and do anything that requires your eyes to pick up on small details.
- There are two types of macular degeneration, “dry” and “wet,” and the majority of people dealing with macular degeneration have the “dry” variety.
- There are also three specific stages of macular degeneration, known as early AMD, intermediate AMD, and late AMD, each determined by how advanced the macular degeneration in your eyes is.
Causes of Macular Degeneration
At this time, scientists, researchers, and eye doctors aren’t 100 percent sure what causes macular degeneration.
However, studies have shown that heredity and the environment both seem to play a role in it.
- Because macular degeneration tends to affect elderly Americans the most, age is believed to play a large part in it.
- There are also some indications that high blood pressure, smoking, obesity and even lighter eye color can cause macular degeneration.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
In most cases, macular degeneration doesn’t affect a person overnight.
There are times when vision loss caused by macular degeneration can be sudden, but in general, those who suffer from macular degeneration will lose their vision slowly and painlessly over a long period of time.
- At the beginning stages of macular degeneration, people will usually see shadowy areas in their central line of sight and distorted images.
During an eye exam, your WNY eye doctor can test you for signs of macular degeneration.
Detection of Macular Degeneration
Your eye doctor can detect the early stages of macular degeneration by examining your eyes.
- Those suffering from early AMD will often have the presence of yellow deposits, called drusen, located beneath their retina.
- During the later stages, a comprehensive eye exam will be able to detect larger drusen.
- Pigment changes in the retina are also a common sign of the presence of macular degeneration.
Macular Degeneration Treatment Options
There is, unfortunately, no cure for macular degeneration as of right now, but there are treatment methods that can be used to slow the progression of the eye disease.
- By dieting, exercising more and abstaining from smoking, you can usually curtail the advancement of macular degeneration.
- There are also certain FDA-approved drugs that can be used to slow macular degeneration down and even improve your overall vision.
A WNY eye doctor will be able to tell you about your treatment options after examining your condition.
Do you suspect that you might be dealing with macular degeneration or have you been diagnosed with it in the past and struggled to prevent it from affecting your vision? Ophthalmology Associates of WNY can provide you with an eye exam and discuss your options thoroughly.