Macular degeneration is a common, acquired degenerative disease of the macula, or the part of the retina needed to see objects clearly. The leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 60 in the United States, macular degeneration’s cause is still unknown. Recent studies suggest the cause may be degradation of the arteries that nourish the retina. This keeps oxygen and nutrients away from retinal tissue. Consequently, vision deteriorates gradually and painlessly. One thing is certain, the disease runs in families, suggesting a genetic component.
There are two types of macular degeneration, dry and wet. The dry form is significantly more prevalent, with roughly 90% of patients experiencing this form of the condition. Although the wet form is only present in 10% of all people diagnosed with macular degeneration, it accounts for most of the visual loss associated with the disease. Also, with dry AMD, the loss is gradual. With wet AMD, the loss will be more rapid.
Symptoms of macular degeneration include:
- Reduced central vision
- Central blind spots
- Visual distortion
- Decreased color vision
- Difficulty reading
Currently, there is no known cure for macular degeneration. Your ophthalmologist may recommend certain vitamin supplements to help control the disease. In severe cases, laser therapy or intraocular medication injections may be necessary.
If you suspect that you or a family member may have macular degeneration, please contact Cataract & Eye Consultants of Michigan as soon as possible. Our doctors and surgeons have extensive experience treating the condition, and early detection is of utmost importance. One of our ophthalmologists will dilate the eyes and inspect the retina to make a final diagnosis. If macular degeneration is detected, a special test called a fluorescein angiogram may be performed to further evaluate your retina.
If you or a loved one are diagnosed with macular degeneration, alert your ophthalmologist to any new changes in vision, especially those detected with an Amsler grid. Take the recommended vitamin supplements prescribed by your ophthalmologist. It’s also important that you never smoke, and always wear protective sunglasses when exposed to the bright sun.