Macular degeneration is the number one cause of irreversible vision loss in men and women over 60. For those living in or around Decatur, Alabama, Charles D. Woods, MD, of Eye and Cataract Associates can provide the latest in diagnostic and treatment options. Preserve your vision by scheduling routine eye exams. Book your next visit today by using the online scheduling tool or calling the office.
Your macula is the central portion of your retina and works to collect images in the middle area of your field of vision and send them through your optic nerve into your brain where they’re processed as sight. Without your macula, you wouldn’t have the ability to drive, read, or complete numerous routine daily tasks.
Macular degeneration, often called age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, occurs when the cells within your macula begin to break down. That impacts the communication between your macula and brain, distorting your vision.
There are two primary types of macular degeneration: “wet” and “dry.”
This is the most common type of AMD and accounts for between 85-90% of cases. Dry AMD is caused by yellow deposits called drusen that appear on your macula, distorting your vision.
This type of AMD only accounts for between 10-15% of cases. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under your macula, eventually leaking blood and other fluid and forming scar tissue.
Both types of age-related macular degeneration can lead to permanent vision loss.
Dr. Woods looks for signs of macular degeneration during routine eye examinations by searching for unusual deposits on your retina. Vision checks can detect changes in your vision, prompting him to explore additional diagnostic tools.
Optical coherence tomography creates a magnified 3D image of your retina, highlighting areas where distortion or swelling is present. Fluorescein angiography is another diagnostic tool, which works by introducing a medical dye into the blood vessels in your retina, highlighting leakage or newly formed blood vessels.
If you have the wet form of AMD, anti-angiogenic drugs can prohibit new blood vessels from forming and block leakage from abnormal blood vessels. Laser treatments can also stop abnormal blood vessels from developing.
Vitamin supplementation is also an effective tool in managing dry macular degeneration. Research shows that increasing our intake of zinc, copper, and vitamins C and E can all help slow the progression of macular degeneration.
If you’re a smoker, quitting can go a long way toward improving your eye health and overall health.
To learn more about age-related macular degeneration, schedule a visit with Dr. Woods for a thorough eye examination and discussion of various treatment paths.