Macular Degeneration Treatment
Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over age 50 in the United States.
AMD can occur in younger patients, but is uncommon below 50 years old. It occurs when there are changes to the macula, a small area of the retina that’s responsible for central vision. It’s the part of the retina that can see “20/20;” and there’s not another part of the retina that has the ability to see as well. There are two types of AMD: dry, or atrophic; and wet, or exudative. Caucasian patients are at greater risk than others, and women tend to get it at an earlier age than men.
The early symptoms of AMD include a gradual loss of the ability to see objects clearly. Objects may begin to be distorted in shape, and straight lines become wavy or distorted. There’s often a loss of clear color vision. As it progresses, many patients will have dark or empty spots in the center of their vision.
In the early stages, you may not even notice any particular symptoms. As with most medical conditions, early detection can help improve the overall prognosis, so having your retinas evaluated by your optometrist on a yearly basis is important. We do a series of tests that allow us to look for this early stage of not only this disease, but others as well.
With the “dry” form of the disease, there is a gradual atrophy, or thinning, of the macula. As this occurs, it is like replacing the perfect film in a camera with bad film; it just takes bad pictures! Unfortunately, there is no treatment for dry AMD, and any vision lost to the process cannot be restored. However, there’s evidence that the right dietary and nutritional supplements can help AMD.
Less common “wet” AMD results when the blood vessels under the macula leak fluids and damage the retina. Vision loss from this type can be sudden and severe. There are no permanent cures here either, but there is evidence that dietary and nutritional methods can be beneficial here as well.
AMD Nutritional Supplements
Thankfully, doctors now believe that there is a link between proper nutrition and AMD. Here at Triangle Visions Optometry, we believe so strongly in this link that we recommend BiosyntRx Nutritional supplements for all our patients who are “at risk” for this disease. In addition, dietary changes favoring low-fat content and dark green leafy veggies can also slow vision loss.
AMD Surgery & Medications
There are some laser surgeries that can help some cases. More exciting, there is now a family of medications that are injected into the back of the eye every month or two that can actually reverse some of the disease process. This is not permanent, and needs to be repeated regularly, but is very successful for many patients.
Ways to Prevent AMD
Bottom line: eat well, take your correct vitamins, don’t smoke (it elevates the risk of AMD by over 700%), and get your eyes checked every year. At Triangle Visions Optometry, we understand that you only get two retinas, and they need to last a lifetime. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Triangle Visions Optometry of Hillsborough has the experience and equipment necessary to diagnose and often treat macular degeneration at our office in Hillsborough. For more information please schedule an appointment with your eye care provider, and we will be in touch with you shortly.