What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Macular is the central part of the retina (the light-sensitive tissue) and it gives us the ability to see. When the macula begins to deteriorate, it leads to vision loss. Age is the primary risk factor hence the name age-related Macular Degeneration.

ARMD is an irreversible, painless, and degenerative eye disease that causes damage and eventually death of the light-sensitive cells (photoreceptors).

Although ARMD is thought to affect people over 65 years, recent research suggests otherwise. According to a study by CDC researchers about 6.5 percentage of Americans aged 40 years and above have some degree of Macular Degeneration and the number is expected to increase by 2050. However, with early detection, you can reduce the progression.

Are You at Risk?

Age is the chief risk factor as our vision deteriorates as we grow older. However, other factors can put you at risk such as family history. So, if you have family members with MD, it’s important to discuss preventive strategies with our doctor.

Smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high-fat/sugar diet and being female are all risk factors that could predispose you to Macular degeneration.

What Are the Types?

Age-related Macular degeneration can either be dry or wet.

  • Dry ARMD is common and it causes yellow deposits in the macula. As these deposits grow in size, they become more noticeable and can distort or dim your vision. In the advanced stage, the light-sensitive tissues will start to thin leading to tissue death. Atrophy causes blind sport and in severe cases, loss of central vision.

  • Wet ARMD is a more advanced stage and is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels that leak fluid and blood into the retina causing vision distortion. The abnormal vessels eventually form scar causing a permanent loss of central vision.

About 10% of people with MD develop wet ARMD. It’s important to monitor your eyesight carefully by seeing our eye doctor regularly.

How Can You Tell You Have Macular Degeneration?

Early stages of ARMD are asymptomatic. However, as the disease advances, you may start to notice a gradual change in the quality of your vision. Other symptoms may include blurry or white spots that appear in the center of the eye and changes in color perception.

When you notice a change in vision or are above 45 years, you should come to see Dr. Raffa and Dr. Ragsdale, they will examine you and monitor your eyesight. Keep in mind that vision changes can be caused by other conditions other than macular degeneration and only an eye doctor can make the right diagnosis.

Age-related Macular Degeneration Treatments

Although there is no known cure for ARMD, several treatments can help reduce the progression of the disease. Talk to our doctor about the best strategy to manage your condition. Some of the age-related macular degeneration treatments we use include;

  • High-energy laser therapy can help decrease the growth of abnormal blood vessels

  • Anti-angiogenic drugs are injected into your eye to stop the formation of new blood vessels. Plus, the injections block the vessels from leaking. Some people who have used these drugs have reported positive results and regained their vision

  • Photodynamic laser therapy is a two-step treatment used to manage wet ARDM. The doctor will inject a drug into your bloodstream and uses laser light to activate it.

  • Vitamins and supplements can help with intermediate macular degeneration. According to the National Institute of Health, taking vitamin E and C, zinc, copper, and beta-carotene supplements will help improve vision.

  • The doctor may also recommend low vision aids with special lenses

Can I Prevent Age-related Macular Degeneration?

Yes. The earlier ARMD is detected, the higher the chances of treatment working. It is crucial to have regular eye checkups if you notice macular degeneration symptoms. Additionally, stop smoking, protect your eyes with sunglasses, eat a balanced diet, and take supplements and vitamins.

The Outlook

Macular degeneration rarely causes complete loss of vision, with early detection and proper treatment, you can stop the progression.

Founders Eyecare is one of the eye clinics that offer age-related macular degeneration treatment in Castle Rock. So, schedule an appointment with our doctors as soon as you notice MD symptoms.

303-688-3636 Book Appointment