When a certain part of your retina becomes damaged, typically as part of the aging process, you may lose the ability to see fine details with your central vision. Called macular degeneration, it’s the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50. The eye care professionals at the Witlin Center for Advanced Eye Care, serving East Brunswick, Toms River, and Morristown, New Jersey, can diagnose and help you manage your age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Call or click today to make an appointment.
AMD is a problem with part of your retina called the macula. This is the area at the center of your retina that perceives fine details in the central portion of your vision. Vision loss due to AMD is permanent, and the most common type of the condition has no treatment option beyond nutritional supplementation that may slow its progress.
There are no symptoms for AMD until you start to experience vision loss from the progress of the disease. Regular checkups with your Witlin Center for Advanced Eye Care ophthalmologist leads to early detection of AMD, permitting an earlier start to AMD management.
Dry macular degeneration is the most common form of AMD, affecting about 80% of those with the disorder. Dry macular degeneration results from the thinning and deterioration of the macula portion of the retina. Typically affecting one eye first, both eyes usually deteriorate with time. You may not notice vision changes in the early stages, since the second eye may compensate for the deterioration of the first.
While surgery to implant telescopic lenses can help some people affected by dry AMD, there’s no cure. Management of AMD includes healthy eating, taking vitamin supplements, and quitting smoking.
Wet macular degeneration develops from the dry form of the disorder. Abnormal blood vessels leak into the macula, aggravating the vision loss caused by dry AMD. There are medications that can stop the growth of these abnormal blood vessels, including photodynamic therapy that uses a laser to activate a medication at the macula. In some cases, your vision may improve as these blood vessels shrink.
Both types of AMD share many common symptoms, though only wet AMD causes rapid changes. If you have dry AMD and you experience further deterioration in your eyesight, it’s possible that wet AMD has begun. Otherwise, common symptoms include: