The most common cause of blindness for people over 55 is age-related macular degeneration. About 11 million people have this condition. This number is expected to double by 2050. Our eye doctors at Primary Eyecare & Optical of Meridian in Meridian, MS, would like to look at what you need to know about age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
What is AMD?
AMD is an eye disease that causes damage to the center part of the retina, called the macula. This makes you lose the central part of your vision.
Different Types of AMD
The two types of AMD are wet and dry AMD. With dry AMD, vision loss is caused by the retina becoming too thin. If dry AMD is not treated, it becomes wet AMD, although not all cases of dry AMD turn into wet AMD. With wet AMD, damage to the retina is caused by leaky new blood vessels.
Is There a Cure for AMD?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for either wet or dry AMD. Sometimes, with the help of your eye doctor, you can slow down the progression.
Symptoms of Dry AMD
You can get symptoms in one or both eyes. Symptoms come on gradually. The center of your vision becomes blurry, making it hard to read, recognize faces, and see fine details. You may see floaters or dark strings. You may need brighter light in order to see.
Symptoms of Wet AMD
The symptoms are the same as for dry AMD, only they progress so that there is a dark spot that does not go away in the center of your vision. That spot eventually gets wider and wider. You are still able to see out of the edges of your vision.
Your eye doctor may prescribe medication or high-dose vitamins to help slow down the progression. You will also need to make certain changes to your lifestyle to eat healthier foods and exercise more. Some people can be helped with laser surgery or surgery that implants a telescopic lens in your eye.
Optometry research is being done to try to cure AMD. In the near future, you may get a computer chip implanted in your retina in order to see, undergo radiation treatments, or have an operation to transplant retinal cells. However, you should not rely on a cure becoming available in your lifetime. The best that can be done at this time is early detection and treatment to slow the progression.
Schedule an Eye Exam in Meridian, MS
If you have questions about macular degeneration or other eye diseases and live in the Meridian area, contact Primary Eyecare & Optical of Meridian to speak with one of our optometrists. Call our team today or reach us through our website by using our online contact form.
Macular degeneration is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration, or AMD because it typically shows up in an eye exam after the age of 60. It involves the progressive destruction of the macula, a retinal region tasked with creating the images that make up your central visual field.
When you are afflicted with macular degeneration, your macula slowly loses its ability to function, eventually producing distortions or blind spots in your central vision. While it may not cause total blindness, it can leave you with only peripheral vision. This symptom can be managed with the help of an optometrist. Find one that offers macular degeneration care in Meridian, MS.
AMD consists of two primary stages. The earlier stage, known as non-neovascular or “dry” macular degeneration, causes deposits known as drusen to form on the macula. This stage may continue for years without noticeable vision loss.
The second stage of AMD occurs in only 10% of these cases, advancing the symptoms to the sight-robbing “wet” neovascular stage. During this stage the macula’s blood vessels die and are replaced with faulty, leaky new blood vessels.
Any eye disease that causes permanent damage needs to be diagnosed and treated as early as possible so our optometrists can help preserve your eyesight. We offer a comprehensive eye exam for macular degeneration care in Meridian, MS. The process involves retinal evaluation, which allows us to identify drusen, bleeding, thinning of the macular tissue and other trouble signs before you ever experience any vision loss.
While there is no specific medical treatment for dry macular generation, our eye doctors can monitor the condition closely and recommend dietary changes, exercise, and UV protection to prevent or control it. We may prescribe drug therapies to control bleeding and blood vessel formation in wet macular degeneration. If the condition has worsened, we may refer you to an eye surgeon for laser treatment.