Macular degeneration is one of the top causes of age-related vision loss, but with early detection, you can take steps to prevent or slow down the disease. At Astorino & Associates Eye Center, Arthur Astorino, MD, and Tram Ho, OD, work closely with patients, providing comprehensive eye exams that detect the earliest signs of macular degeneration, then creating a customized treatment to protect their vision. If you have any changes in your vision or it’s time to schedule an eye exam, call the office in Newport Beach, California, or use the online booking system.
Macular degeneration is a progressive eye disease that affects an area of your retina called the macula. The macula contains specialized cells that convert light into electrical impulses that travel to your brain through the optic nerve.
As macular degeneration develops, these cells are damaged, which destroys your sharp, central vision. There are two types of macular degeneration:
Dry macular degeneration is the most common type, affecting 80% of patients. This condition develops gradually as the macula thins out and tiny clumps of protein and fat, called drusen, build up under the retina.
At first, drusen are too small to affect your retina. But as they slowly enlarge, they gradually damage cells in the macula.
Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow. As these weak vessels leak blood and fluid behind the retina, they cause swelling that damages the macula. Wet macular degeneration causes vision loss faster than dry macular degeneration.
You can have dry macular degeneration for years before symptoms develop. As the damage gets worse, you experience problems such as:
As central vision diminishes, you develop a darkened area in the middle of your visual field. As a result, it’s hard to identify faces and read.
At present, there’s no treatment available for dry macular degeneration. But if it’s identified early, you can take steps to prevent or delay its progression.
When you have regular eye exams, your provider at Astorino & Associates Eye Center can determine your risk for macular degeneration and identify early signs of the disease before you develop symptoms. Then your provider can prescribe therapeutic doses of eye vitamins and offer other lifestyle recommendations, such as wearing sunglasses, to help stop the condition from worsening.
If you have wet macular degeneration, you can receive one of several treatments, such as laser photocoagulation, medication, or photodynamic therapy, to prevent abnormal blood vessel growth and to stop existing vessels from leaking.
If you notice changes in your vision, call Astorino & Associates Eye Center or schedule an appointment online for a macular degeneration evaluation.