Frequently Asked Questions About Macular Degeneration
The leading cause of blindness in America in macular degeneration. That’s according to the American Optometric Association -- and it’s the reason why your Advanced Eye Care Associates optometrist in Providence takes this eye disease so seriously.
Let’s get a basic definition of macular degeneration and see how your eye doctor is likely to respond if you or a loved one feels threatened by it.
What is Macular Degeneration?
While younger people can contract a form of macular degeneration, it’s principally an eye disease associated with age. This more common form of the disease is known as Age-related Macular Degeneration or AMD.
AMD is a slow breakdown of the macula, which is the central area of the retina. The retina is what records what we see and sends the report to the brain. The macula controls the focus of that image. As it deteriorates, we gradually lose the sharpness of what we see, and our sight turns blurry or fuzzy.
In time, AMD victims lose so much of that central image that they become legally blind.
There are two forms of AMD. By far the most common is the “dry” form contracted by as much as 90 percent of AMD victims.
The “wet” form is usually a progression of dry AMD. New (and weak) blood vessels form behind the retina and leak blood and other fluids. This wetness causes scar tissue to form on the retina and blocks retinal cell functioning.
What are some risk factors?
In addition to age, other risk factors include genetics, race, and smoking. Tobacco use is the only risk factor you can control.
What are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?
Unfortunately, your first symptoms are…none at all. At first, you’re unlikely to notice that anything is happening, but in time you’ll be aware of gradual vision loss in the central part of your vision.
What Treatment Options are Available?
While there are no known cures for AMD at this time, your eye doctor can help slow the progression of the disease. That starts with an early diagnosis, so it’s critical that you schedule an appointment with an optometrist as soon as you experience the early warning signs of what might be macular degeneration.
Your Advanced Eye Care Associates optometrist will make the diagnosis and discover whether you have the wet or dry form of the disease. There are laser therapies available to seal off the leaking blood vessels if you’re suffering wet AMD.
In the case of the dry form of AMD, proper eye care includes dietary changes, exercise, and smoking cessation.
Schedule an Appointment
Your Eye Care Associates eye doctor will carefully review your case, explain your options and develop a course of treatment. But you must take the first step: make an appointment.
Call us at (401) 331-2020. You’ll find Advanced Eye Care Associates at 780 North Main Street in Providence.