Macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults, but if you start early, you can take steps to help prevent this challenging eye disease. At Diablo Eye Associates in Walnut Creek, California, the ophthalmologists and glaucoma specialists have extensive experience helping patients make lifestyle changes to prevent or slow down the progression of macular degeneration. They specialize in the treatments you need once the disease develops. To schedule an eye exam, call the office or book an appointment online.
Macular degeneration occurs in an area of your retina called the macula, which is responsible for sharp central vision. There are two types of macular degeneration:
This is the most common form, affecting 80% of all patients with macular degeneration. Dry macular degeneration develops gradually, as the macula thins out and drusen develops. Drusen are little clumps of protein and fat that build up under the retina.
When drusen first develop, they’re too small to affect your vision. As they slowly enlarge, they damage cells in the macula and cause loss of central vision.
This form of macular degeneration occurs as abnormal blood vessels grow behind the retina. These blood vessels are fragile, so they leak blood and fluids, which leads to swelling that damages the macula.
Wet macular degeneration is less common than dry macular degeneration, but it’s more serious because you can lose vision at a faster rate.
In the early stages of macular degeneration, you won’t have any symptoms. As drusen enlarge or fluids accumulate, you’ll experience:
As you lose central vision, you’ll develop a dark spot in the middle of your visual field. You may find that it’s hard to read or recognize faces.
There’s currently no medical treatment for dry macular degeneration. However, you may prevent or delay its progression by taking therapeutic doses of the eye vitamins recommended by the Diablo Eye Associates team. It’s also important to wear sunglasses to prevent ultraviolet light from worsening the condition.
For wet macular degeneration, the team at Diablo Eye Associates can offer several treatment options that prevent the growth of new blood vessels and stop existing vessels from leaking. For example, they may recommend photodynamic therapy to destroy leaking vessels or a medication called anti-vascular endothelial growth factor to inhibit the growth of new blood vessels and prevent leakage.
If you notice changes in your vision or you’re due for a routine eye exam, call Diablo Eye Associates or book an appointment online.