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Macular Degeneration Diagnosis and Treatment
Macular degeneration is a common eye health condition that can hinder your ability to complete everyday functions like reading road signs, recognizing faces, using a computer, watching television and driving. Age-related macular degeneration –also referred to as AMD– is characterized by the gradual deterioration of the macula or the small central area of the retina. The retina of your eye is the area that controls visual acuity and is central to clear vision.
Wet and Dry Macular Degeneration
Recent studies have shown that AMD is the leading cause of vision loss among Americans as they age. Research also suggests that as the US population ages, the number of people living with AMD will increase greatly in the next several years.
Our Maryland optometrist can work to diagnose both dry (non-neovascular) and wet (neovascular) macular degeneration. The dry form of AMD is much more common and is seen as a much more early stage of the disease. Dry AMD may present as a result of aging and the natural thinning of the macular tissues or due to tissues depositing in the macula. Gradual central vision loss is a possible symptom of dry macular degeneration but the effects are typically much less severe than they tend to be with wet macular degeneration.
Wet macular degeneration only presents in about 10 percent of cases. This more advanced form of AMD occurs when new blood vessels begin to grow under the retina, leaking blood and fluids. As the fluids leak into the rest of the eye, they can cause permanent damage and create blind spots in the central field of vision.
What Causes AMD?
AMD is usually characterized by a slow and painless loss of vision. However, in some cases, AMD vision loss can be very sudden. While the disease is associated with the natural aging process, there may also be a genetic component that makes certain patients more likely to experience this type of vision loss.
With preventative care and regular eye health exams, early detection of macular degeneration is highly possible. By taking advantage of regular retinal exams, our eye doctor can work to examine the blood vessels surrounding the macula. We may also suggest making certain dietary and health changes in an effort to reduce your risk of AMD.
Make an Appointment
Interested in learning more about AMD? Call (410) 686-3000 or visit us online today to schedule an eye exam.