What is Macular Degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a problem with your retina. It happens when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged. With AMD you lose your central vision. You cannot see fine details, whether you are looking at something close or far. But your peripheral (side) vision will still be normal. For instance, imagine you are looking at a clock with hands. With AMD, you might see the clock’s numbers but not the hands. AMD is very common. It is a leading cause of vision loss in people 50 years or older.
Two types of AMD
This form is quite common. About 80% (8 out of 10) people who have AMD have the dry form. Dry AMD is when parts of the macula get thinner with age and tiny clumps of protein called drusen grow. You slowly lose central vision. There is no way to treat dry AMD yet.
This form is less common but much more serious. Wet AMD is when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels may leak blood or other fluids, causing scarring of the macula. You lose vision faster with wet AMD than with dry AMD.
Many people don’t realize they have AMD until their vision is very blurry. This is why it is important to have regular visits to your eye doctor. He or she can look for early signs of AMD before you have any vision problems.
You are more likely to develop AMD if you:
- eat a diet high in saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese)
- are overweight
- smoke cigarettes
- are over 50 years old
- have a family history of AMD
- are Caucasian (white)
Having heart disease is another risk factor for AMD, as is having high cholesterol levels.
- Your eye doctor will also look inside your eye through a special lens. He or she can see if there are changes in the retina and macula.
We can also put drops in your eye to dilate (widen) your pupil. This allows us to look through a special lens at the inside of your eye.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is another way to look closely at the retina. A machine scans the retina and provides very detailed images of the retina and macula.
Right now, there is no way to treat the dry form of AMD. However people with lots of drusen or serious vision loss might benefit from taking a certain combination of nutritional supplements.
To help treat wet AMD, there are medications called anti-VEGF drugs. Anti-VEGF treatment helps reduce the number of abnormal blood vessels in your retina. It also slows any leaking from blood vessels. This medicine is delivered to your eye through a very slender needle.
Laser surgery may also be used to treat some types of wet AMD. Your eye surgeon shines a laser light beam on the abnormal blood vessels. This reduces the number of vessels and slows their leaking.
Wexford Office Hours
Monday: 10:00am - 7:30pm
Tuesday: 10:00am - 7:30pm
Wednesday: 10:00am - 7:30pm
Thursday: 8:00am - 4:30pm
Friday: 8:00am - 4:30pm
Saturday: 8:00am - 2:00pm
Vision Therapy Hours
Monday: 10:30am - 7:00pm
Tuesday: 9:30am - 7:00pm
Wednesday: 8:00am - 7:00pm
Thursday: 8:00am - 7:00pm
Friday: 8:00am - 4:30pm