Types of Macular Degeneration
There are two types of macular degeneration: Non-neovascular, which is called dry macular degeneration, and neovascular, which is called wet macular degeneration. Dry macular degeneration is the more common type, accounting for up to 90% of cases.2 The dry type of this disorder occurs when the macular tissues of the eye become thinner as a result of aging. Dry macular degeneration is typically considered an early form of the disease.
Wet macular degeneration is an advanced form of AMD that results in the development of abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula. The abnormal blood vessels can leak, which causes permanent vision loss.
Both types of macular degeneration cause loss of central vision, which means patients may maintain peripheral (side) vision, but develop blind spots in the middle of their field of vision.
Macular Degeneration Symptoms
Macular degeneration is a progressive disease and patients typically notice symptoms very gradually. Since early symptoms may not be noticed at all, it is important to have yearly comprehensive eye exams for early detection.
Symptoms of macular degeneration may include:
- Distorted or fuzzy vision
- The appearance of shadows in the center of your vision
- Changes in the way you perceive colors
- Inability to see fine details
- Blind spots in the center of your vision
- Straight lines begin to appear crooked or wavy
Patients with wet macular degeneration may notice larger blind spots and severely impaired central vision, and they may experience a more rapid progression of symptoms.
Patients with macular degeneration may adapt by relying more on peripheral vision, but eventually the symptoms of macular degeneration will interfere with day-to-day life. Macular degeneration can make it difficult to drive, read, or even recognize people’s faces. Early detection is key to managing symptoms.
Macular Degeneration Risk Factors
Anyone can develop macular degeneration with age. However, there is a genetic component to the disease, so it is especially important to have regular eye exams if you have a family history of macular degeneration. People with fair skin and light eyes are also more prone to macular degeneration.
Additional risk factors for macular degeneration include:
- A diet high in saturated fats
- Cigarette smoking
- High cholesterol or high blood pressure
- Excessive sun exposure
Macular Degeneration Diagnosis
Everyone should have an annual eye exam, but if you have risk factors for macular degeneration, our ophthalmologists will conduct special tests to screen for it. Diagnostic tools for macular degeneration include:
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
In this test, light waves are used to make detailed, high resolution, cross-sectional images of your retina. These images can show if retinal layers are swollen, distorted, damaged or scarred.
This test utilizes an injectable dye to detect new, abnormal blood vessels and determine if there is any blood vessel leakage, which would indicate wet macular degeneration.
Macular Degeneration Treatments
There is no cure for macular degeneration, but there are several treatment options available to manage the disease. The experts at CVP Physicians Dayton will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for you.
The approach for dry macular degeneration is typically to monitor and recommend lifestyle changes and supplements that may slow the progression of vision loss. Wet macular degeneration may be treated with intraocular injections of specialized medications called vascular endothelial growth factors, which can stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels. Another potential treatment for wet macular degeneration is photodynamic therapy, which involves the use of lasers to control the growth of abnormal blood vessels.
Contact CVP Physicians Dayton
The retina specialists at CVP Physicians Dayton are dedicated to caring for the eye health of patients in Dayton, Springboro and the greater Ohio areas. If you have risk factors or symptoms of macular degeneration, it is important to see an experienced eye doctor as soon as possible. Please contact us with any questions or schedule your consultation appointment today.
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Where to start with the positive aspects of this health care provider? Their front office staff is always very polite, efficient, organized, patient and helpful.
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1 National Eye Institute. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Data and Statistics. Available: https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/resources-for-health-educators/eye-health-data-and-statistics/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd-data-and-statistics Accessed June 2, 2020.
2 American Macular Degeneration Foundation. What is Macular Degeneration? Available: https://www.macular.org/what-macular-degeneration Accessed June 2, 2020.
3 American Academy of Ophthalmology. What is Macular Degeneration. Available: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/amd-macular-degeneration Accessed June 2, 2020.