Macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in people 60 and older, but early detection and treatment can slow the progression of the disease and even improve your vision. At Valdez Eye Center in Apple Valley, California, the team of expert ophthalmologists treats macular degeneration, closely monitoring your condition using specialized photographic equipment. If you’re concerned about macular degeneration or would like to learn more about treatment, schedule an appointment online or over the phone today.
Macular degeneration is the age-related thinning of your macula, which is situated in the center of your retina. Your macula allows you to see things in your central vision — directly in front of you — in clear, vivid detail. You rely on your macula every day to read, drive, watch television, and recognize faces.
Macular degeneration usually doesn’t cause complete blindness, but you can partially or fully lose your central vision, leaving only your peripheral vision. This dramatically changes the way you see, and at that point, you’re considered legally blind.
Untreated macular degeneration causes you to develop blind spots in your field of vision, as well as wavy, blurry, or distorted areas. You might also find colors are less bright and harder to tell apart.
To detect macular degeneration in its early stages, it’s a good idea to get regular eye checkups at Valdez Eye Center.
Macular degeneration is either dry or wet. Broadly speaking, dry is the early stage, while wet is the advanced, urgent stage and requires urgent treatment.
The majority of macular degeneration cases are dry. People with dry macular degeneration usually have lots of drusen — fatty deposits — in their eyes.
Dry macular degeneration is unlikely to cause permanent significant vision loss, but it can cause bothersome changes, including distorted and blurry vision and needing more light to read. While it’s not curable, treatment can slow or prevent vision loss, especially with early detection.
Some cases of dry macular degeneration progress to wet macular degeneration. At this point, abnormal blood vessels have formed in your eye, which can leak blood into your macula. When left untreated, these blood vessels eventually form scars, resulting in serious complications.
If you have wet macular degeneration, you’re at significant risk of losing your central vision. Unlike the dry form, which develops gradually, wet macular degeneration symptoms appear much more suddenly and rapidly worsen. The condition is treatable with early detection.
Be sure to schedule an appointment at Valdez Eye Center right away if you’ve experienced any troubling changes to your vision.
No specific procedures or medications are available to treat dry macular degeneration. Instead, your ophthalmologist helps you make lifestyle changes that promote good eye health. These changes can help you adapt to vision changes and slow the progression of the disease. They include:
Though wet macular degeneration is more urgent and serious than the dry form, it’s more directly treatable. Treatment can preserve your vision and even, in some cases, reverse vision loss.
Depending on how far the disease has progressed, your ophthalmologist can give you injections of anti-angiogenic drugs to prevent new abnormal blood vessels from growing, or use laser therapy to destroy the abnormal blood vessels.
Valdez Eye Center uses top-of-the-line technology, including a fundus camera, which takes high-resolution photos of the back of your eye. The team uses fundus photography to monitor macular degeneration and ensure you get the treatment you need as soon as you need it.
If you’re concerned about changes in your vision or would like to learn more about macular degeneration treatment, schedule an appointment at Valdez Eye Center online or over the phone.