Macular Degeneration

Information about Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration is a medical condition affecting vision that usually occurs in older adults and usually results in loss of vision in the centre of visual field. Macular degeneration affects the macula, an area in the center of the retina, a thin layer of light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.

Macular Degeneration appears in two forms, wet and dry.

 

Dry Macular Degeneration is less severe. In this type, the tissue that comprises the macula breaks down resulting in macular damage.

Symptoms of Dry Macular Degeneration tend to appear gradually and may include:

  • Fuzzy central vision
  • Difficulty reading in dim light
  • Distortion of objects
  • Development of a central vision blind spot

Unfortunately, at this time there is currently no treatment plans available for Dry Macular Degeneration.

 

Wet Macular Degeneration is more sever than Dry Macular Degeneration. In this type there is an abnormal growth of blood vessels underneath the macula. These blood vessels are extremely porous, which causes blood and fluid to leak under the macula. As this blood and fluid collects, scar tissue develops which causes significant damage to the macula.

Symptoms of Wet Macular Degeneration can occur rapidly and more severely. These symptoms include:

  • Fuzzy central vision
  • Difficulty reading in dim light
  • Distortion of objects
  • Development of a central vision blind spot

Wet Macular Degeneration is treatable. Dr. Calotti uses injectable medication to help absorb the blood and fluid that collects under the macula. This helps stop the progression of the disease and in a large percentage of patients it results in significant visual improvement.

There are many different factors that contribute to causing macular degeneration. The most common factor is age, the older you are the higher the risk of developing macular degeneration. Others are:

  • Gender - females tend to be at a higher risk then men
  • Race - Caucasians seem to be at a higher risk than other races
  • Eye color - macular degeneration is more common in people with blue eyes. This could be related to damage associated with ultraviolet light
  • Genetics - if others in your family have macular degeneration you are at a higher risk of developing it
Wet age related macular degeneration
 

It is important to remember that Macular Degeneration does not cause total blindness although it does affect the quality of vision. Regular eye examinations with your optometrist or ophthalmologist are critical to make an early diagnosis.

 

Amsler Grid Test

One of the first signs of macular degeneration can be wavy, broken or distorted lines OR a blurred or missing area of vision. You should use the Amsler grid to test your central vision every day to detect any changes.

Follow these steps while looking at the amsler grid below:

  • The grid should be at about the same distance from your eyes that any other reading material would be.
  • If you usually wear reading glasses, please put them on while taking the test.
  • Test both eyes, being sure to cover one eye at a time, then focus on the dot in the center of the grid, making sure that you can see the entire grid
  • Do any of the lines look wavy, blurred or distorted?
  • Are there any missing areas or dark areas in the grid?
  • Can you see all corners and sides of the grid?
  • Report any irregularity to your eye doctor immediately.
Amsler Grid
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