Damage to the retina, typically caused by age or family history, is a chronic eye disease known as macular degeneration. Unlike Glaucoma, which presents itself with increase eye pressure, IOP, and lost peripheral vision, macular degeneration causes vision loss to the center of your field of vision. Depending on how macular degeneration develops, it may occur in either a “dry” or “wet” form.
Dry macular degeneration is the more common form of this condition and develops from the breakdown or atrophy of light sensitive cells in the macula known as photoreceptors or the cones and rods. The breakdown of these cells are gradual, and patients will slowly lose their central vision over a long period of time.
Wet macular degeneration causes rapid vision loss and is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels which ultimately leak blood, fluid, and protein into the macula. The blood vessel leakage will damage the macula and photoreceptors (cones and rods) quickly, causing blurred vision. If left untreated, the damage caused to the macula is irreversible, but will not result in complete blindness. The ability to drive, read, or perform activities that require focused central vision, however, will be compromised.
|How do I know if I have macular degeneration?|
|Eye Exam||Initial diagnosis for age-related macular degeneration can often be detected during a routine eye exam. Your doctor may notice yellow deposits under the retina, known as drusen.|
|Amsler Grid||An Amsler grid can also be used as a beginning indication of macular degeneration. An Amsler grid resembles a chessboard, but the pattern of straight lines may appear wavy or some lines may appear missing to you.|
|Precise Measurements||If either drusen is present or you fail the Amsler grid test, more precise measurements can be taken to confirm the diagnosis. These tests include an angiography or an optical coherence tomography (OCT).|
Unfortunately, although dry macular degeneration is the most common form of the disease, there is no cure. Regular eye exams to monitor the condition and a vitamin regimen, however, can help reduce vision loss and further slow vision deterioration. In patient whose macular degeneration only effects one eye, their vitamin regimen may also help prevent the other eye from developing this condition.
Several forms of treatment are effective for the wet form of macular degeneration. Some of these treatments include medications, laser photocoagulation, and photodynamic therapy. Although complete vision recovery is unlikely, treatment will improve vision and prevent vision from worsening. Medication will be injected directly into the aqueous humor to prevent the growth of leaky blood cells, and treatments such as laser photocoagulation and photodynamic therapy destroy the current blood vessels already leaking before irrevocable damage is inflicted on the retina.
At Miami Eye Center, Dr. Joseph Selem will meet with you during your private consultation to assess your individual situation. Dr. Selem can help you decide which macular degeneration treatment in Miami is right for you. See the beauty in yourself and the world around you in crisp, clear detail today! Request an appointment online or call Dr. Joseph Selem and the staff at Miami Eye Center at 305-444-0221 to schedule your private consultation.