Macular Degeneration/Low Vision

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). AMD is a vision problem of the retina or light sensitive layer of the eye in older individuals. Yellowish deposits (drusen) form, resulting in distortion and gradual blurring of vision. In advanced cases, blind spots develop that grow larger as the disease progresses. There are two types of AMD, classified as "wet" and "dry." The most common form is the dry type. Wet AMD, occurs when blood vessels growing up from beneath the retina leak blood. Leaked blood pushes on the light receptor cells resulting in damage to the retina.

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of visual impairment for individuals age 50 and older. Although there is currently no cure, there is hope for those with AMD.

Vision loss does not have to mean loss of independence or quality of life. If you have low vision, please call our office where we offer some low vision aides like magnifiers that may help. We can also provide you with information on local agencies that can help.

Early detection and treatment is the best defense against losing your vision. If you are at risk for macular degeneration, see your ophthalmologist for a complete eye exam at least every one to two years. Research has shown that you may be at a higher risk for AMD if: you smoke, are significantly overweight, are female, are Caucasian and/or, have a family history of the disease.

Research continues for AMD treatments. Please schedule an appointment to receive a preventative eye exam that will help detect any eye disease. If you already know you have AMD call to discus the AMD treatments that we offer.

Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration, often referred to as AMD, is a medical condition which usually affects older adults. This vision-stealing disease is the result of degeneration to the macula and results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field because of the damage to the retina. It occurs in dry and wet forms and is a major cause of blindness and visual impairments in adults over the age of fifty.

Macular degeneration can make it difficult or impossible to read or recognize faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life. The dry form of advanced AMD results from atrophy of the retinal pigment epithelial layer below the retina, which causes vision loss due to the damage of photoreceptors also known as rods and cones in the central part of the eye.

The wet form of advanced AMD causes vision loss due to abnormal blood vessel growth ultimately leading to blood and protein leakage below the macula. Bleeding, leaking and scarring from these blood vessels eventually causes irreversible damage to the photoreceptors and rapid vision loss if left untreated. Fortunately only about ten percent of patients suffering from macular degeneration have the “wet” type.

Macular degeneration is not painful which may allow it to go unnoticed for some time. For this reason, regular eye examinations are important. While approximately ten percent of patients age 66 to 74 will have findings of macular degeneration, the prevalence increases to thirty percent for patients age 75 to 85 years of age. Family history may also play a factor. The good news is that regular eye exams, early detection, and new treatment options enable doctors to maintain—and in some cases increase—visual acuity in patients.