What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a progressive eye disease where vision loss occurs due to the deterioration of the macula, which is the central area of the retina. This disease causes central vision loss and is one of the leading causes of vision loss in America. Central vision loss can make everyday tasks, like reading, driving, deciphering colors, and recognizing faces difficult. At Clewner & Kelly Eye Center, our experienced team uses advanced vision technology to diagnose and help manage macular degeneration. If you have been exhibiting symptoms of central vision loss, contact our center to consult with a retina specialist in Boca Raton, FL, today.
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
The forms of age-related macular degeneration (wet and dry) are not caused by the same thing. Wet macular degeneration often occurs when an individual develops an abnormal blood vessel in their eye. The vessel will leak fluid and/or blood and can cause scarring on the macular tissue and may lead to vision loss. The exact cause of dry macular degeneration, on the other hand, remains unknown at this time. However, it is linked to age and occurs as the macula, which is part of the retina, thins with age. This creates small clumps of protein and can also lead to central vision loss.
What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration can cause various symptoms ranging from slight to extreme. Each patient will experience their own set of individual symptoms. However, a few of the frequent symptoms can include:
- An empty or dark spot within the center of the vision
- Loss of central vision
- Straight lines appearing wavy
- Blurry or fuzzy vision
- Issues making out faces, even those of friends and family
If you're searching for treatment for macular degeneration in Boca Raton, FL please reach out to our team. We'll schedule an appointment so you can start down the road to optimal eye health.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Macular Degeneration
The exact cause of macular degeneration is unknown, though the majority of cases are age-related, and smoking can double your risk for developing the disease. There are two major types of macular degeneration:
- Wet Macular Degeneration: Abnormal blood vessels leak fluid or blood within the central portion of the retina. Only about 10% of macular degeneration cases are the wet form, but as vision loss can progress quite rapidly in this form, it is important to seek treatment as soon as symptoms begin to present.
- Dry Macular Degeneration: Dry form macular degeneration occurs when yellow deposits known as drusen build up in the macula. The dry form is usually slow to progress and can take many years to develop.
There are two major tests for macular degeneration that your eye doctor will perform to determine if you have the disease. Fluorescein angiography is where a special dye is injected into the bloodstream to highlight the blood vessels in the back of the eye, and optical coherence tomography (OCT) is where advanced images are taken of the back of the eye.
While there is no treatment or cure for dry macular degeneration, age-related eye vitamins may prove useful for some subgroups. The progression of wet macular degeneration can be slowed with anti-VEGF medications, and injections, such as Avastin®, Lucentis®, and EYLEA®, can chemically shrink the abnormal blood vessels to help improve central vision.
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Macular Degeneration FAQ
Can vision loss from macular degeneration be reversed?
While there is no cure for macular degeneration, certain treatments are able to slow the progression of the disease and help manage your condition. Recent advances in certain treatments have shown some promise of being able to reverse vision loss from macular degeneration. Talk to your retina specialist in Boca Raton, FL, to learn what options may be available to you.
Will you go blind with macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration leads to central vision loss, which can severely impair vision and may even qualify as legal blindness. Typically though, macular degeneration leaves peripheral vision preserved.
Can you lead a normal life with macular degeneration?
With treatment from a macular degeneration specialist in Boca Raton, FL, you may be able to learn to manage your condition and navigate life even with central vision loss. Talk to your retina specialist at Clewner & Kelly Eye Center for more information about how you can continue doing the things you love.
Seek Help for Vision Loss
If you or someone you love is experiencing vision loss, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible. While a diagnosis of macular degeneration may sound alarming, the experienced staff at Clewner & Kelly Eye Center is here to offer help in managing the condition. Contact our friendly staff at our center in Boca Raton, FL, to schedule your comprehensive eye exam.