Did you know that macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in America? It is also the most common cause of permanent vision loss in the world. Because it generally affects those aged 55 and older, and is simply due to the aging of the eye, it is also referred to as age related macular degeneration (AMD or AMRD).
As I reach another milestone birthday and half a century of
“lookin’ at the bright side,” I am starting to see that the human body inevitably declines or deteriorates, and all the positive thinking in the world can’t stop that from happening to my generation. However, in combination with the Phillips Eye Institute and our Retinal Partners in Patient care, Claris Eye Care & Surgery has the latest technology and procedures for detecting and treating AMD I know I am receiving the best care possible.
The deterioration of the macula- the portion of the retina responsible for focusing central vision in the eye- can cause two possible forms of AMD. Patients with the “dry” form of AMD may have better central eyesight, but they experience reduced color perception, fluctuated vision and trouble reading- especially in low light. About 10 % of the cases have what is called “wet AMD”, caused by abnormal blood vessels growing under the retina and macula, quickly distorting or destroying central vision.
Since you care about protecting and improving your eyesight, and you come in to Claris for checkups regularly, I’m sure you probably already know this- but just in case, I’m going to remind you! There are several factors that may put you at risk for macular degeneration, many of them seem to go hand-in hand with one another:
- AGE: As I mentioned AMD increases as you age and is most common in people over age 65.
- FAMILY HISTORY OF AMD: You are more likely to develop macular degeneration if someone in your immediate family has/had it.
- RACE: AMD is more common in Caucasians than other races.
- SMOKING: It increases your risks. Seriously, just quit already!
- OBESITY: Being severely overweight increases your chances of AMD progressing rapidly to the more severe form of the disease.
- CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE: Having prior diseases affecting your heart and or blood vessels may increase the risk of AMD.
- ELEVATED CHOLESTEROL: It simply puts you at a higher risk of AMD.
If you find yourself wondering if perhaps you are at risk make an appointment with Claris immediately. Don’t wait.
When you come to check for AMD, the first thing you can expect is to have a thorough eye exam during which the doctor will examine you eyes with an ophthalmoscope to see if any damage is present in the macula. If there is, further testing will be done with something called an Amsler’s Grid or Amsler’s Chart. Using the grid at home properly after deducing a baseline pattern, will enable you to detect any subtle changes in your vision and you may notice areas of distortion, wavy lines or blank spots. For the best quality care, Claris Eye Care & Surgery is always on the forefront of technology. With their newest state of the art Zeiss VISUCAMPRO NM fundus camera, which increases the quality of fundus imaging and sets the standard in ophthalmic photography, they can photograph the interior surface of the eye which enhances fundus visualization and helps to document and treat AMD.
If macular degeneration goes undetected it can result in permanent vision loss. But if you come in to Claris for an examination, and catch it early, there are a number of options that exist to treat it!
For starters, medical treatment with supplements like vitamins C, E, zinc, copper and beta-carotene have proven to be effective in reducing the rate of progression of AMD. We have a couple of products that we recommend that are based on the AREDS formula including FOCUS Macula Pro and PRN Macular Vitamin Benefit.
Direct laser treatment of wet macular degeneration is also an option. It is used to stop leakage of blood or other fluids into the macula.
There is another procedure that can be very effective in stabilizing a patient’s vision, which is done by a retinal specialist with a close working relationship with Claris Eye Care & Surgery. Medications are injected into the eyeball to directly stop the growth of leaking blood vessels.
You wouldn’t give up on your favorite car just because it had a breakdown right? So as a member of the newest batch of the aged generation I say,“ Don’t despair- REPAIR”.
If you have questions about macular degeneration or any of the procedures listed above and would like to schedule an appointment please contact us at 612.775.8009 or by email at email@example.com.