The natural effects of the aging process can lead to the gradual decline of the macula, or the central portion of the retina, which is a condition known as age-related macular degeneration. Cases of macular degeneration are characterized by a reduction in central vision, or the vision responsible for recognizing faces and fixating on objects in the center of the visual field. Individuals with macular degeneration (AMD) often find it difficult to read, drive or perform other necessary daily tasks due to the reduction of their central vision.
Although there is no cure for macular degeneration, doctors can recommend several ways to slow the progression of the disease and prevent future vision loss. The type of treatment recommended depends on the specific type of disease.
There are two types of age-related macular degeneration:
- The dry form, distinguished by deposits of drusen in the retina
- The wet form, distinguished by the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the macula
Both types of macular degeneration may be asymptomatic at first, but unless detected and treated early on, can result in a complete loss of vision.
If you are experiencing any changes in your vision — particularly in your central vision — please contact California Retina Associates online or by calling (619) 425-7755 or (760) 352-7755 to schedule a treatment evaluation at one of our San Diego-area offices.
Dry Macular Degeneration
Dry macular degeneration is the more common form of AMD. Vision loss with this type of macular degeneration results when drusen – yellow deposits in the retina – begin to increase in size or multiply in number. Because the progression of this disorder is slow, initial symptoms may seem similar to those produced by less worrisome issues. However, as it advances, symptoms of dry macular degeneration may include a loss of central vision in addition to diminished color sensitivity and visual white out.
These symptoms should be brought to the immediate attention of one of the ophthalmologists at our practice. While dry macular degeneration cannot be cured, some lifestyle modifications can help slow its progression. For example, eating foods or taking nutritional supplements with antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids can help. Exercising and not smoking are also recommended to avoid vision loss due to AMD.
Wet Macular Degeneration
Wet macular degeneration may be less common, but it is also more likely to result in a permanent loss of vision. Vision loss with wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels develop in the retina and leak fluids and blood. This increase of fluid in the macula distorts vision and can eventually form a scar that will cause a complete loss of vision in the affected eye.
There are treatments for wet macular degeneration, although it cannot be cured. Treatments that may be recommended by our retina specialists include laser therapy, and intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF medications like Avastin. The option best suited to meet your needs will be determined during your visit to one of our offices.
Contact California Retina Associates
If you are struggling with vision changes, please call our San Diego retina specialists at (619) 425-7755 or (760) 352-7755 to schedule an appointment today. We serve the entire San Diego area from several conveniently located offices.
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