Macular degeneration is a frightening diagnosis, but with treatment, you can often stop its progression and even regain lost vision. At Scarbrough Family Eyecare in Beulah and Traverse City, Michigan, board-certified optometrist Edward Scarbrough, OD, detects and treats macular degeneration. As needed, the practice provides referrals to ophthalmologists for advanced care. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone.
Macular degeneration is a deterioration of your macula, located in the middle of your retina, the layer of light-sensing tissue at the back of your eye. Your macula are responsible for your central vision, allowing you to see the world in clear detail. Your macula allow you to recognize people’s faces and read their facial expressions.
Macular degeneration rarely results in complete blindness, but it can cause you to lose most or all of your central vision, leaving only your peripheral (side) vision, which is far less clear. This makes activities like driving, reading, watching television, and using a computer difficult or impossible.
The telltale symptom of macular degeneration is blind spots. These are dark, blurry areas that look like someone took an eraser to your vision. Your vision may also become less sharp, while colors look less bright, intense, and vivid.
The two forms of macular degeneration are dry and wet:
Dry macular degeneration is by far the more common form of the disease, accounting for 85%-90% of all cases. It results from fatty deposits called drusen that form under the retina.
The dry form is less likely to cause permanent severe vision loss than the wet form. However, it can still cause blurry vision, blind spots, and occasionally a loss of central vision.
In some cases, the dry form turns into wet macular degeneration. Wet macular degeneration accounts for only 10%-15% of macular degeneration cases, but it’s far more likely to cause severe, irreversible vision loss. Also, the symptoms of the wet form appear much more quickly than the dry form.
Wet macular degeneration results from abnormal blood vessels that leak blood. If left untreated, the vessels form scars, eventually causing a permanent loss of central vision.
Treatment for macular degeneration depends on the form of macular degeneration you have and how advanced it is.
If you have dry macular degeneration, your Scarbrough Family Eyecare provider helps you adjust to changes in your vision and make lifestyle changes to preserve your eye health. A diet rich in antioxidants or a regimen of high-dose supplements can help slow vision loss. Vision aids, such as magnifiers, reading aids, and bright lighting can help you see better.
Wet macular degeneration requires urgent attention, and you may be referred to an ophthalmologist. Treatment for the wet form targets abnormal blood vessel growth and includes injectable medication and laser therapy. These treatments can help preserve your vision, and in some cases, even reverse vision loss.
Schedule an appointment at Scarbrough Family Eyecare online or over the phone.