It is one of the top causes of blindness and vision loss in Americans 50 years of age and older; however, macular degeneration can develop in people as young as 40. Sometimes referred to as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), this common eye condition typically begins with mild blurry or distorted vision, and then progressively gets worse. The good news is, there are treatments available from Dr. Jay C. Grochmal that can help reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration. And, in some cases, there are treatment options that can slow or even stop the progression of the condition if it is diagnosed in the early stages.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
In the early stages of macular degeneration, symptoms may occur in only one eye, and therefore be so subtle that it is difficult to tell that something is wrong. However, the symptoms will eventually become more pronounced once they start occurring in both eyes. This is why it is imperative to obtain regular eye exams and talk with an experienced ophthalmologist about your risks of developing macular degeneration. Symptoms of macular degeneration include:
- Small blind spots in the central field of vision
- Blurry vision
- Straight objects appearing wavy or distorted
- Difficulty recognizing colors in dark and light tones
- Significant loss of visual activity
If you recognize any of these symptoms, please contact Dr. Grochmal.
Causes of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration occurs when the macula of the eye – the critical area of the retina that gives us our good vision – starts to break down. It becomes more difficult to perform our daily activities; such as, driving or reading – and the symptoms progressively get worse. Causes of macular degeneration include:
- Natural process of aging
- Environmental factors such as smoke and other substances that give off oxidizing molecules
Macular Degeneration Types
There are two types of macular degeneration. One is called dry, or non-neovascular macular degeneration, and it is the most common type. Dry macular degeneration progresses slowly. Currently, specific vitamin therapy is available to help preserve central vision. Vision aids can help many patients with this condition retain useful vision.
The other type of macular degeneration is called wet, or neovascular macular degeneration. This condition can develop quickly. Wet macular degeneration is caused by abnormal blood vessels which have formed under the retina within the macula which may leak blood or fluid, ultimately creating permanent tissue damage. There is a treatment available for the wet macular degeneration which involves injecting medication within the vitreous cavity. This treatment may clear up the abnormal blood vessels that have formed, thereby improving your vision.
Dr. Grochmal can evaluate you to determine your risks for developing macular degeneration, or whether you are already affected by the condition. He will be happy to answer your questions and discuss treatment options.
Contact Grochmal Eye Center
Please contact the Grochmal Eye Center for more information, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Grochmal.