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Andrew Stone Optometry Answers Macular Degeneration FAQs

Macular degeneration is also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This condition occurs due to the deterioration of the retina. This condition can severely impair your vision.

woman being tested for macular degeneration

What Are the Two Types of Macular Degeneration?

There are two types of macular degeneration, dry and wet.

  • Dry: This is the most common type of macular degeneration. Between 85 percent and 90 percent of people who develop macular degeneration have dry AMD. This form occurs when bits of fat and protein called drusen collect on your retina.
  • Wet: This type is less common. It occurs when extra blood vessels begin to form in your eye under the macula. These new vessels can cause blood and fluid to leak in your eye which can cause damage. This type of AMD gets much worse than dry AMD, and the damage occurs much more quickly.

What Are the Symptoms?

In the early stages, this condition shows no symptoms. In some cases, you may notice a gradual vision loss. Also, straight lines can appear distorted. In the later stages, you can see dark, blurry areas or whiteout areas in your vision. The final stage of macular degeneration causes permanent blindness.

What Risk Factors?

There are a few factors that can put you at risk of macular degeneration.

  • Age: As the name suggests, macular degeneration occurs in older people.
  • Genetics: If your parents have macular degeneration there is a good chance that you will get it as well.
  • Smoking: If you are a smoker, you have a greater risk of developing the condition.
  • Diet: If you eat a poor diet, you are at risk of AMD.
  • High blood pressure: If you have high blood pressure, your risk of developing AMD increase.
  • Race: Caucasians have the highest risk of developing AMD. This is followed by Chinese and Hispanic. African-Americans have the lowest risk of developing AMD.
  • Gender: Women have a higher risk of developing AMD than men.

How Is Macular Degeneration Diagnosed?

A: Your optometrist can detect macular degeneration during an annual eye exam. Your optometrist will examine your retina. They will check for drusen and fluid in the eye.

If your eye doctor suspects macular degeneration, they will use an Amsler grid test. This a pattern of straight lines that resemble a checkerboard. If some of the lines appear missing to you, it is a sign that you have macular degeneration.

An optical coherence tomography is commonly used. This is a special photo that shows a 3D image of your retina that is magnified.

Finally, your doctor may order a fluorescein angiography. They will inject dye into the vein in your arm. As the dye reaches your eyes and flows through the blood vessels in the retina, the optometrist will take photos. This will let them see if new blood vessels have developed and if they are leaking fluid in the macula.

How Is Macular Degeneration Treated?

A: Unfortunately, there is no cure for macular degeneration. However, there are treatments available that can slow the progression of the disease and slowing the progression of your vision loss.

  • Anti-angiogenic drugs: These are drugs that are injected into your eye to prevent new blood vessels from forming.
  • Laser therapy: This treatment uses a high-energy laser that can destroy actively growing blood vessels.
  • Vitamins: Your optometrist may recommend a regimen of vitamins, including lutein, which can help with intermediate to advanced dry AMD.

Contact Our Andrew Stone Optometry in Columbia, MO Today!

Regular eye care with Andrew Stone Optometry in Columbia is essential in detecting this condition in the early stages. During the exam, all eye diseases can be caught in the early stages so that they can treat or slow the progression of the disease.  Call us today at 573-445-7750.                                                                                                             

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