Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition in older adults and the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50. Macular degeneration affects the macula, the part of the retina responsible for the crisp, detailed central vision needed for reading or driving. As we age, the tissue in the eye responsible for vision slowly begins to deteriorate which can significantly affect a patient's quality of life.
Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Patients with dry macular degeneration may notice gradual changes to their vision, including shadowy areas in the central vision, or fuzzy and distorted vision. These areas grow larger as the disease progresses, and can eventually turn into blind spots. Patients may also have difficulty seeing color and fine details.
If the disease progresses to the wet form, patients may also see straight lines as wavy. With wet macular degeneration, central vision loss can occur rapidly, sometimes in as little as a few days or weeks.
Your doctor may be able to detect early signs of macular degeneration, before any symptoms occur, through a regular eye exam. Any signs of this condition can be further confirmed by testing your central vision with an Amsler grid test. Regular eye exams are important in detecting macular degeneration and other serious eye conditions as early as possible, so that permanent side effects can be avoided.
Treatment of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
While there is no cure for macular degeneration, there are several treatment options available to help patients manage this condition and preserve their vision. The best treatment option for each patient depends on the severity and type of the condition, as well as how much, if any, permanent vision loss has occurred.
Intraocular injections of vascular endothelial growth factor are often successful in stopping abnormal blood vessel growth in wet macular degeneration. The medications are injected into the vitreous of the eye on a monthly basis to control the damaging effects of wet macular degeneration. Photodynamic therapy is also effective in removing newly developing abnormal blood vessels that are characteristic of wet macular degeneration. Many patients also benefit from vitamin and mineral supplements, which can clear out toxic substances that may build up in advanced cases of this condition.
It is essential for patients with macular degeneration, wet or dry, to seek continuous medical treatment to manage their condition and prevent permanent vision loss from occurring. Our doctors have extensive experience in the treatment of these conditions, and can offer patients the latest, most advanced treatments to help preserve vision and the overall quality of life. To learn more about our services, call us today to schedule an appointment.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes. The length of time a patient has diabetes will determine the likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy. Over 40 percent of patients in the United States, diagnosed with diabetes, have a form of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye complication and a leading cause of blindness in American adults.
Diabetic retinopathy causes the blood vessels that supply nourishment to the retina, the light-sensitive lining in the back of the eye where vision is focused, to weaken. These weakened vessels can leak, swell or develop thin branches, causing a loss of vision.
During any stage of diabetic retinopathy a condition known as macular edema can develop. Macular edema is the buildup of fluid in the macula, the light-sensitive part of the retina that allows us to see objects with great detail. As the macula swells vision becomes blurred. About half of the people with proliferative retinopathy are diagnosed with macular edema.
Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy
Other than controlling blood pressure, blood cholesterol and the levels of blood sugar, treatment is not needed during the first three stages of diabetic retinopathy. The fourth stage, proliferative retinopathy is treated with a laser surgery procedure known as scatter laser treatment. During the procedure the abnormal blood vessels are ablated causing them to shrink. This procedure works best once the blood vessels begin to bleed. Severe blood vessel bleeding may need to surgically corrected with a vitrectomy procedure to remove the blood from the eye.
Treatment for macular edema usually includes a laser procedure called focal laser treatment. During this procedure, several hundred small laser burns are placed in the areas of retinal leakage around the macula to prevent leakage from occurring and reduce the amount of fluid in the retina. This helps reduce the risk of vision loss and may improve lost vision in a small number of cases. Focal laser treatment is performed in your doctor's office and can usually be completed in just one session.
When you smile, laugh, frown, or look puzzled, you contract the muscles of your face. Over time, these contractions produce permanent furrows and deep wrinkles in the skin, especially around the eyes and mouth, between the eyebrows, and on the forehead. These lines can make you look older, sad, angry or tired. BOTOX® Cosmetic treatments can not only prevent you from deepening these lines during natural facial movements, they can also erase these marks of aging, leaving you looking younger and more refreshed.