A Closer Look at Macular Degeneration
Aging changes the components of the eye that can lead to age-related eye diseases. One of the most common eye conditions that causes vision loss is macular degeneration. As the name implies, age-related macular degeneration or AMD is the result of a damaged macula characterized by the progressive and often irreversible deterioration and loss of function in the retina. Macular degeneration causes loss of the central field of vision, meaning people find it difficult to see things directly in front of them while peripheral vision remains intact.
A closer look at macular degeneration reveals there are two types of this retinal condition- wet and dry. Wet, or exudative, macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels develop under the retina and macula, “Exudative” refers to the leaking of blood and fluid from the blood vessels. This leakage leads to scarring of the macula and rapid loss of central vision. The fluid buildup causes a bulge to the macula, so it is imperative to seek immediate medical attention. It can develop suddenly but can also be treated effectively if caught early. Dry, or atrophic, macular degeneration occurs when tiny yellow protein deposits called drusen form under the macula causing the macula to thin and dry out. Nearly 90% of all AMD cases are made up of the dry form of the disease. Unlike wet AMD, dry AMD has a gradual progression. In the early stage, the macula changes but vision remains the same so unless you have an eye exam around the time changes occur, it will go unnoticed. Vision loss symptoms are unnoticeable until the late stage. Before that occurs, in the intermediate stage, vision may get blurry or wavy. With any changes to vision, schedule an eye exam so that early intervention can prevent vision loss. In the late stage of dry AMD, central vision fails completely.
During an eye exam, your ophthalmologist may perform several tests that include Amsler grid test, dilated eye exam, fluorescein angiography, optical coherence tomography, and optical coherence tomography angiography. While there is no cure for macular degeneration, early treatments can slow the progression and make symptoms less severe. Evaluating your eye health is the surest way to diagnose and treat any issues associated with the retina including macular degeneration. To book your exam with Premier Eye care & Surgery Center, call 847-459-6060 or visit WEBSITE.