Macular degeneration is an eye disease that can gradually lead to blurry or reduced vision. It occurs when the central part of the retina called the macula wears down, which often occurs as people get older.
There are two main types of macular degeneration, including dry and wet. While most people with macular degeneration have dry form, it is possible for dry form to lead to wet form.
Dry form: This is the most common type of macular degeneration. Individuals with this form may have yellow deposits known as drusen in their macula. While a couple of small drusen may not cause vision changes, as they grow larger or multiply, your vision may become dim or distorted. As this condition worsens, the light-sensitive cells in your macula may eventually die. In some cases, blind spots in your central vision or complete loss of central vision may occur.
Wet form: This form is caused by leaking blood vessels in the retina. These blood vessels can leak blood or fluids into the back of the eye resulting in distorted vision. Individuals with wet form macular degeneration often experience more significant vision loss, which can include blind spots and loss of central vision.
In the early stages of macular degeneration, you may not notice any symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, you may experience:
- Blurry or dark areas in the center of your vision.
- Overall worsening of your vision.
- Difficulty reading fine print, driving, or focusing on fine details.
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Macular degeneration is primarily associated with aging; however, genetics may also play a role. There are also certain individuals that may have a higher risk of developing this disease, including those who smoke, have high blood pressure, have high cholesterol, are obese, or spend a lot of time in the sun.
While there is no cure for macular degeneration, there are treatment options to slow the progression of the disease or prevent complete vision loss. These options include:
- Medication: Anti-angiogenesis drugs are used to block the production of blood vessels and leakage from the vessels into the eye, which causes wet macular degeneration. These drugs may also help to regain lost vision.
- Laser therapy: High-energy laser light can be used to eliminate abnormal blood vessels that are growing in the eye. Photodynamic laser therapy is another option, in which a light-sensitive drug is injected into your bloodstream and absorbed by abnormal blood vessels. A laser is then used in the eye to trigger the drug, damaging those blood vessels.
- Low vision aids: These are special devices that have lenses or technology to create larger images of things nearby. They can be helpful for those with vision loss due to macular degeneration.
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Cataract Surgeon, Opthalmologist, Cornea & External Diseases Specialist
Dr. Archana Gupta is a board certified ophthalmologist. She specializes in cataract, cornea, external diseases and refractive surgery.
If you are experiencing the symptoms associated with macular degeneration, or have been diagnosed and are seeking effective treatment, contact our Boca Raton & Tamarac offices today. Dr. Gupta will be happy to assess your situation to provide the best possible care.
If you have a question or would like to schedule an appointment, please fill out and submit the form below.
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