Age-related macular degeneration is caused by a disruption of the macula. The macula is the portion of the retina that is used to see detail, color, and contrast in front of us. Macular degeneration (ARMD, AMD) is a leading cause of legal blindness in people aged 65 and over, with 1.75 million adults in America diagnosed.
This Disease Has Two Variants: Dry and Wet.
Dry macular degeneration is the most common form. Yellow, whitish deposits called drusen build up in and around the macula and the tissue begins to degrade. The drusen can affect central vision, causing blurred or distorted vision. Over time, dry macular degeneration can lead to central vision loss as the tissue continues to atrophy.
Wet macular degeneration makes up only about 10% of those with ARMD, but its effects on vision is much worse and more devastating. Blood vessels break through the retinal pigment epithelium layer and these vessels are leaky and prone to bleeding, hence the term wet macular degeneration. Wet macular degeneration can lead to central vision loss rapidly if not treated properly.
People with early AMD usually don’t know they have it until damage has already occurred, but a regular comprehensive eye exam at BA Eye Site – Broken Arrow allows us to detect the early signs of AMD. Dr. Ozment will look for drusen or unusual growth of blood vessels, and make a treatment plan.
If signs of wet macular degeneration are present anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) injections or laser surgery may be recommended. These procedures are generally painless and quick. At this time no FDA-approved cure for dry macular degeneration exists. Studies show that ocular supplements and eating healthy, exercising and smoking cessation and regular visits to the eye doctor are the best ways to battle AMD.
Be sure to schedule your yearly eye exam appointment with BA Eye Site in Broken Arrow so we can check for the signs of conditions like AMD and help to prevent eye damage. We appreciate you allowing us to be your optometrist, and we look forward to seeing you for your next annual eye exam.
Dr. Matthew Ozment
Optometrist, Broken Arrow OK