What Is Macular Degeneration?
As the name suggests, macular degeneration (or age-related macular degeneration) typically affects the older population (over 60 years) and is currently the most common cause of blindness in this age group.
Risks of developing the disease may include age, genetics, smoking, diet and diabetes, however you aren’t always aware you have the disease. It is therefore important to have regular eye examinations and seek specialist advice at the first signs of the disease.
Is Macular Degeneration Curable?
The current treatment of macular degeneration is to prevent the condition from getting worse. It does not restore lost vision.
What Are My Macular Degeneration Treatment Options?
Treatment will be determined by the type of macular degeneration the patient has developed.
There are two types of macular degeneration (AMD):
This is a slower, more progressive type of macular degeneration in which the layers of the macula slowly wear down. There is no direct treatment for dry macular degeneration, however in this case, taking antioxidant supplements in conjunction with good diet and exercise can prolong good health of the macula, slow progression and maintain vision.
This is usually a sequel to dry AMD, where the fluid or blood interferes with the layers of the macula. Wet AMD can cause sudden drops in vision usually requiring intravitreal injections to help reabsorb the fluid and recover vision. This is a very effective and successful treatment of AMD, although many treatments may be required.
Prevention includes antioxidant supplements for the macula and eye health, and a good diet and cessation of smoking. The treatment of age-related macular degeneration may vary depending on the type and extent of macular degeneration you have. Our doctors are specialized in diagnosing, treating and monitoring the progression of macular degeneration, so feel free to ask any further questions you might have when we see you at your appointment.
The best warning system for detecting macular degeneration is the Amsler Grid, as this disorder can lead to reduction and distortion of vision. The Amsler Grid can be obtained from your eye specialist.
The Amsler Grid should not be relied upon for diagnosis – it is merely a tool to test for and monitor symptoms of macular degeneration (AMD).
How to test with Amsler Grid:
- If you normally wear reading glasses, do not remove them.
- Sit approximately 14 to 16 inches away (or normal reading distance) from the screen, with the grid at eye level.
- Cover the left eye.
- With the right eye, focus on the dot in the center of the grid.
- While focusing on the dot, be aware of the lines of the grid.
- Now, cover the right eye and repeat the test.
- Be aware of the surrounding squares and assess whether there are dark spots in your vision, bent lines, big squares or small squares (see example).
- You should immediately report any of these positive findings to your EyeCare Associates of South Tulsa specialist.