Usually known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD), it is a retinal condition that leads to central vision loss in people over the age of 50. Risk factors include high blood pressure, being overweight, having high cholesterol, and smoking. It can run in families, but the early signs are subtle so a complete eye exam is the best way to get checked to see if you are at risk.
There are two main forms of AMD: “dry” and “wet.”
- Dry AMD
- Most cases fall into this category. Small clumps or deposits are seen on the retina, called drusen, and with time these spots can become scars and create missing spots in your eyesight. Vision loss tends to be gradual and slow, but there are no treatments proven to reverse the process, only to slow it down. Taking a specific formula of eye vitamins, AREDS2, has been proven to help slow the progression of the disease in its intermediate stages.
- Wet AMD
- More rare but also much more dangerous in causing vision loss. This occurs when new, abnormal, and fragile blood vessels grow in the retina, causing leakage and bleeding. It can present as sudden darkness or distortion in vision without pain. It is critical to be seen by a retina specialist for potential treatment, to minimize the amount of scarring and permanent vision loss that can result. In recent times, there are many medications that can now treat and manage this form of AMD, but it still requires careful monitoring and frequent check-ups.
At Fullerton Eye Institute, we have professionals who are experienced at diagnosing macular degeneration and managing the early forms by monitoring it with advanced imaging technology. We have long-standing relationships with retina specialists very close to our clinic and can quickly refer you to get treatment when necessary.
Interested in learning more? Check out the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s page on macular degeneration.
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