The macula is the part of the retina responsible for color vision and visual acuity — particularly central vision, which is necessary for many everyday tasks like reading or driving. Macular degeneration, sometimes called age-related macular degeneration or AMD, is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 65.
The eye doctors at California Retina Associates are internationally recognized for their work treating conditions affecting the retina. During routine retinal exams, we can often detect early signs of macular degeneration and, while there is no cure for this disorder, prompt treatment can be very effective at delaying its progression. Because there is no cure, early detection and prompt intervention is essential for preventing a complete loss of vision.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
Symptoms of macular degeneration may include:
- Difficulties adapting to low light levels or the need for increasingly bright light when doing close-up work
- Difficulties recognizing faces
- A decrease in the brightness of colors
- Blurry, blind or distorted spots in your central vision
- Generally hazy or unclear vision
The vision loss caused by macular degeneration is usually slow and painless. However, sudden vision loss can be caused by certain types of this disorder.
Types of Macular Degeneration
There are two types of macular degeneration.
Dry macular degeneration is the more common type, affecting approximately 80 to 90 percent of people with the disease. In these cases, small deposits called drusen develop on the retina, below the macula, causing it to deteriorate over time.
Wet macular degeneration is much less common, but more likely to cause severe vision loss. In these cases, abnormal blood vessels beneath the retina grow toward the macula, and bleed or leak fluid, which can damage the macula and pull it away from its base.
Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration
Your risk for macular degeneration is significantly increased if you are a smoker, but genetics, obesity, high blood pressure and the use of some drugs may also increase your risk.
Questions about Macular Degeneration
The retina specialists at California Retina Associates are happy to answer any questions about macular degeneration that you may have. You can call our San Diego-area offices at (619) 425-7755 or (760) 352-7755.
Macular Degeneration Treatment
There is currently no macular degeneration treatment that is proven to cure the disease. However, the condition can be managed through lifestyle changes and other habits. There are also medical therapies and other interventions that can help preserve vision in advanced cases of AMD.
Recommended for some cases of wet AMD, anti-VEGF drugs are designed to inhibit the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the macula.
Avastin is a drug that blocks VEGF, or a protein in your body that stimulates the growth of new blood vessels.
Macular holes are tears or breaks in the macula that can distort central vision. Unlike macular degeneration, macular holes can be treated.
Similar to macular degeneration and macular holes, a macular pucker is a condition that occurs when scar tissue forms on the macula.
Macular Degeneration Care in San Diego
If you are experiencing central vision loss or simply need to schedule a routine eye examination, please contact California Retina Associates to schedule an appointment at one of our San Diego-area locations.
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