As you get older, your eyes become more susceptible to certain diseases, including age-related macular degeneration, or AMD. AMD occurs when the macula, the central part of your retina, begins to deteriorate. In the beginning stages, we can only diagnose AMD with a comprehensive eye examination, so your diagnosis might be a bit surprising. At EYECARE for You, our patients with macular degeneration naturally have a lot of questions. Here are some of the more common ones we hear:
What Kinds of AMD Are There?
AMD presents in two basic types: wet or dry. You can develop both forms of the disease, and they might progress quickly or slowly. The most common type is dry macular degeneration, during which the cells in the eye break down slowly.
Wet AMD usually happens after the dry form of the disease, when it happens at all. It happens very quickly, sometimes causing blindness within days or weeks. The wet form only happens in about 10 percent of the cases of AMD, but it causes about 90 percent of AMD-related blindness.
What Causes AMD?
Yellow deposits called drusen form and build up under the macula, causing it to begin to break down. This causes spotty or blurred sight in the central part of your vision. In the advanced wet stage, membranes begin to break down and newer, weaker blood vessels begin to form. This can scar the macula and cause permanent vision damage.
What Symptoms Should I Watch For?
You should be having a comprehensive eye examination every year after the age of 50, but you may begin to develop symptoms in the months between exams. Call our office and make an appointment if you experience any of these symptoms:
- A blurred spot in the center of your vision
- Straight lines appear wavy
- The blurred spot becomes darker or and larger
- Your straight-ahead vision disappears, even temporarily
What is the Treatment for Macular Degeneration?
Although there is no complete cure for AMD, certain treatments can help to slow the progression of the disease. Begin taking a nutritional supplement known as AREDS if you have the dry form of the disease. This specific formulation of minerals and antioxidants has been shown to slow the progression of AMD in up to 25 percent of all cases. For wet AMD patients, there are injections, surgeries, and laser treatments that have been known to help.
Will I still need glasses if I wear contact lenses?
Contact lenses may be worn most of the day and some are approved for sleeping in may even sleep in some.
Contact Us in Richboro
Early diagnosis is the best defense against rapid AMD development, and that's done with a comprehensive eye examination. If you haven't had an exam in at least a year, contact our office: EYECARE for You in Richboro. Give us a call at (215) 485-5384, and we'll schedule a visit today. Dr. Joyce and her team look forward to using the latest technology provide the best exam possible.