What is Macular Degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a deterioration or breakdown of the eye’s macula. The macula is a small area in the retina — the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. The macula is the part of the retina that is responsible for your central vision, allowing you to see fine details clearly.
Symptoms associated with age-related macular degeneration include:
- A gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly
- A gradual loss of color vision
- Distorted vision
- A dark or empty area appearing in the center of the vision
Vision loss is usually gradual, patients who develop macular degeneration must carefully and constantly monitor their central vision. Our experienced team is equipped to administer specialized treatments and care. Regular exams are the best way to detect the disease and inform your ophthalmologist of any vision changes.
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Types of macular degeneration
Dry Macular Degeneration
Dry macular degeneration is the most common form. In its early stages, the thinning and aging of the macula will lead to excess pigment development which collects in small deposits in the tissues of the eye. Patients in their early to mid stages of dry macular degeneration may have blind spots in the center of their vision. In advanced stages, patients may lose their central vision completely. Advanced dry AMD is also known as geographic atrophy.
If this form of the disease goes undiagnosed or untreated, it may develop into wet AMD.
Wet Macular Degeneration
Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels begin to grow and form in the eye, causing blood and fluid to leak out and damage the cells in the retina which respond to light. Vision loss from this form of macular degeneration may be faster and more noticeable than that from dry macular degeneration.
The longer these abnormal vessels leak or grow, the more risk you have of losing more of your detailed vision. If abnormal blood vessel growth happens in one eye, there is a risk that it will occur in the other eye. The earlier that wet macular degeneration is diagnosed and treated, the better chance you have of preserving your central vision.
Treatment for Wet Macular Degeneration
For some patients, a laser procedure may be used to treat their wet macular degeneration. For most, injections will be recommended.
Avastin®, Eylea® and Lucentis® are intravitreal injections because the medication is placed into the vitreous of the eye. Your ophthalmologist may measure your intraocular eye pressure before you leave the office. These injections will need to be repeated every four to eight weeks.
For more information regarding Avastin® for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration, visit http://www.nih.gov/news/health/apr2012/nei-30a.htm.
For more information regarding Eylea® for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration, visit http://www.eylea.us.
For more information regarding Lucentis® for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration, visit http://www.lucentis.com.
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