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Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration Information Hazle Township and Stroudsburg

Macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss among people over age 50. It results from changes to the macula, a portion of the retina, which is located on the inside back layer of the eye. The macula is responsible for clear, sharp vision and is many times more sensitive than the rest of the retina. Without a healthy macula, seeing detail or vivid color is not possible.

There are two types of age-related macular degeneration. In the dry type, the tissue of the macula becomes thin and stops functioning properly. This type is thought to occur as part of the aging process of the eye in some people. There is currently no treatment available for this slowly progressive condition.

In the wet form, which is less common, fluids from newly formed blood vessels leak under the macula and cause significant vision loss. This condition can sometimes be treated with laser therapy, but early detection and prompt treatment is vital in limiting damage.

Some symptoms of macular degeneration are:

These symptoms may also indicate other eye health problems so if you are experiencing any of these, you should contact your doctor of optometry as soon as possible.

As macular degeneration advances, a distorted, dark or empty area often appears in the center of vision.

In a comprehensive eye examination, your doctor will perform a variety of tests to determine if you have macular degeneration or other eye conditions.

Unfortunately, there is no way to restore central vision lost to macular degeneration. However, since macular degeneration does not affect side vision, low vision aids such as special telescopic and microscopic lenses, magnifying glasses and electronic magnifiers for close work, can be prescribed to help make the most of remaining vision. With adaptation, a person can often cope well and continue to do most things he or she is accustomed to.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Forms of AMD

Dry AMD occurs when cells under the macula break down and create deposits called drusen. It is this drusen that can make you lose some vision. Dry AMD usually develops slowly over time, with few symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage. Some advanced dry AMD symptoms may include:

Wet AMD

Wet AMD is a very serious form of AMD - more serious than dry AMD - and it can progress very quickly. Although only 10% of people with dry AMD will get wet AMD, it is a major cause of central vision loss in adults.

Wet AMD occurs with the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the back of the eye. As the blood vessels grow, they can leak blood and fluid, which damage the macula. Wet AMD is a major cause of central vision loss in Americans aged 55 and older, affecting more than a million men and women.

Wet AMD symptoms may include visual distortions, such as:

AMD can occur in 1 eye, or both. If you have AMD in 1 eye, it's important to carefully monitor the other. That's because there's a good chance you will develop AMD in both eyes. Early detection can give you the best chance for success in treating AMD.

Macula with wet AMD

What causes AMD?

The exact cause of AMD is not known. But there are a number of risk factors that may play a role. These risks include:

The Progression of wet AMD

If you've noticed changes in your vision that seem like symptoms of wet AMD, talk to your eye doctor or make an appointment with a retina specialist. He or she will perform 1 or more the following tests on your eyesight:

Treatment Options for AMD

Here are some suggestions for living with low vision:

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