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At Bay Family Eye Care, we are committed to providing Macular Degeneration prevention and treatment alike. Consult us today!
The #1 cause of vision loss is a condition that isn’t typically part of every-day conversations. Macular Degeneration affects more than 10 million Americans – that’s more than cataracts and glaucoma combined. This incurable eye disease is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina (the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain). The retina - particularly the central part of the retina, known as the macula - is responsible for focusing our central field of vision. Damage to it affects our ability to read, drive, recognize colors or faces, and to take in the details of the world around us.
At Bay Family Eye Care, we are committed to providing Macular Degeneration prevention and treatment alike. In addition to offering specialized eye examinations and scans that monitor for symptoms of this disease, we specialize in its management overall. We also guarantee that your visit will be made as comfortable and helpful as possible. All eyes are on you when you visit Bay Family Eye Care - so schedule an appointment online or call (410) 796-4555 today to set up your visit!
FAQs on Macular Degeneration:
What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a common eye disorder among people over the age of 50, and is the leading cause of severe, irreversible vision loss in people over 60. It occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates. Since the retina plays a critical part in allowing us to take in the world around us, any damage to it can impact our lives in a major way.
What are the Different Types of Macular Degeneration?
There are two types of Macular Degeneration: dry and wet:
- Dry Macular Degeneration affects approximately 80 to 90 percent of patients, and tends to progress relatively slowly. In these cases, small white or yellowish deposits of fatty protein form on the retina, beneath the macula, causing it to deteriorate or degenerate over time.
- Wet Macular Degeneration occurs much less frequently, but accounts for approximately 90 percent of severe vision loss cases related to Macular Degeneration. Wet Macular Degeneration cases involve the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the retina. These vessels are prone to bleeds and leaks, however, due to their abnormal nature. And these bleeds and leaks ultimately damage in the retina, even causing the macula of the retina to lift up and pull away from its base. This can result in a rapid and severe loss of central vision.
What are the Symptoms and Stages of Macular Degeneration?
There are three stages of Macular Degeneration, and each presents slightly differently:
- In the Early stage, most patients do not experience vision loss at all.
- In the Intermediate stage, there may be some vision loss, but there also may not be noticeable symptoms at all.
- In the Late stage, vision loss has become noticeable.
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
Unfortunately, we’re still unsure of the specific causes of this eye disease. Doctors do know that genetics, race, and environmental factors are involved. But it’s unknown how much each factor plays a role in triggering Macular Degeneration. This is a current area of study for scientists and vision experts.
What Can Be Done To Prevent and Treat Macular Degeneration?
- Prevention: While the exact causes of this condition are not known, we do know that the biggest risk factor for Macular Degeneration is age. Because of this, patients should always adhere to exam recommendations made by their eye doctor, as more frequent screenings can be beneficial with age. Patients with a family history of Macular Degeneration should report this medical history to their doctor as well, as this may mean you need more frequent screenings for Macular Degeneration. No matter their age or family history, patients should quit smoking to help address their risk of Macular Degeneration; it’s known that smoking doubles the risk of this disease.
- Treatment: There is currently no known cure for Macular Degeneration, nor is there a specific treatment available for it. But there are things that may slow its progression. Eating a healthy diet, exercising, avoiding smoking, and protecting your eyes from ultraviolet light are all known to support healthier vision and slow the disease’s progression. Your doctor may also recommend certain vitamin supplements to help support your eyes.
How is Macular Degeneration Diagnosed?
Macular Degeneration is typically diagnosed - or at least suspected - during a dilated eye exam. Sometimes your eye doctor will recommend additional tests if needed to more closely examine the back of the eye, as well as look for defects in the center of your vision. Your eye doctor may also carry out a Fluorescein Angiography. During this test, your doctor injects a colored dye into a vein in your arm; as the dye travels to the eye, your doctor will be able to examine your eyes for abnormal blood vessel or retinal changes.
Bay Family Eye Care also utilizes non-invasive macular scans to identify and evaluate the state of the retina, and look for thinning, thickening or swelling that can develop due to fluid build-up in the eye.
How Do I Know Which Test(s) I Need?
The good news is that your eye doctor is responsible for determining which test(s) you need! All you need to do is schedule regular eye exams on at least an annual basis (or more frequently if recommended). Just by keeping your appointment and bringing us a full medical history and family history, we can determine what tests you need during your visit.
Ready to schedule an appointment? Our Bay Family Eye Care team is ready to meet you. Schedule an appointment online or call (410) 796-4555 today to set up your visit!