Macular Degeneration Eye Exam and Treatment from Your Lancaster Optometrist
At the back of your eye lies the retina, a light-sensitive layer of tissue designed to convert what you see into electrochemical messages that are then sent to the optic nerve. Once the optic nerve receives these message, it relays them to your brain where this visual information is interpreted by neurons in the occipital lobe. At the center of your retina is the macula, another piece of the highly specialized tissue supporting your ability to see objects in your central vision field. When your macula suffers deterioration, you will have trouble reading, driving and recognizing colors and faces. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common form of macular degeneration diagnosed by your Mount Vernon optometrist.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
Mostly affecting people over 60 years old, AMD is a progressive, painless disease occurring gradually over time. One of the first signs of macular degeneration detected during an eye exam with your optometrist in Lancaster is an accumulation of yellow deposits beneath the retina called drusen. Although drusen do not typically cause loss of vision, it may raise your risk of developing moderate to advanced macular degeneration. AMD can affect one eye or both eyes.
Other signs of macular degeneration include:
- Diminishing of central vision
- Noticing a blurry or cloudy spot interfering with your central vision
- Having increasing difficulty seeing at night, especially when driving
- Needing more light to read books and newspapers
As macular degeneration progresses, you may have trouble recognizing familiar faces or find the blurry spot is growing in size. Dilation of your eyes by your Newark, Ohio optometrist is the standard method for diagnosing AMD.
What is Wet Macular Degeneration?
Less common than "dry" age-related macular degeneration, "wet" macular degeneration involves the rapid growth of abnormal blood vessels within the retina. As these weak vessels leak blood and other fluids into the macula, symptoms develop quickly, such as a defined blind spot in your central vision field, visual distortions and overall haziness to your vision. Wet macular degeneration should be considered an eye emergency requiring immediate treatment by your optometrist. Medications to stop blood vessel growth and leakage is the first line of treatment for wet macular degeneration.
Prognosis for Macular Degeneration
While no treatment for AMD currently exists, your Mount Vernon optometrist will monitor the progression of the disease and recommend making changes to your diet and lifestyle. Some studies have found that people with AMD may reduce their risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration by taking nutritional supplements containing antioxidants, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin C. Eating more fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fish may also delay progression of AMD.
Schedule an appointment for a macular degeneration eye exam with Primary Vision Care today by calling our Newark office at (740) 366-7341. We also have locations in Mount Vernon and Lancaster, Ohio.