Macular degeneration (MD) is the leading cause of blindness, and is often age-related. Macular degeneration is characterised by the deterioration of the retina’s central portion, known as the macula. The macula focuses vision and is what allows us to read, drive, recognize colors or faces, and more. There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet.
Dry Macular Degeneration
Most cases of MD are the “dry” type. In this type of MD, the deterioration is linked to the formation of drusen (small yellow deposits) under the macula. It affects the function of the macula as it thins and dries it out. The amount of central vision loss will be related to the location of the retinal thinning.
Patients with dry MD can have good central vision, but have severe limitations to its function. This can include difficulty reading, fluctuating vision, and difficulty seeing at night. The early stage of dry MD is associated with minimal vision impairment.
Wet Macular Degeneration
Wet macular degeneration is the less common form of MD, as only 10 to 15% of patients have it. In wet MD, abnormal blood vessels grow under the macula and the retina, which can bleed and leak fluid, causing the macula to change position or bulge out. This can distort or destroy central vision, and vision loss may be rapid or severe. Patients with wet MD may see dark spots in their central vision, and straight lines may appear wavy.
There are three stages of macular degeneration in which the symptoms progress differently. They include:
If you think you have developed macular degeneration, or would like to check for signs of it, let the ophthalmologists at Haas Vision Center take care of you. Haas Vision Center offers treatments for macular degeneration and ensures that you receive expert care. Schedule your appointment today or give us a call at 719-272-4227.
Studies have shown that certain antioxidant vitamins and zinc can reduce the effects of macular degeneration. When these vitamins and minerals are taken daily in specific amounts as supplements to a healthy diet, they can be effective in slowing down the progression of the disease and serve as a treatment for macular degeneration.
People at high risk for late stages of macular degeneration can benefit from dietary supplements of vitamins such as:
If you are a smoker, you will have to take a specific formula as the standard formula has a high volume of Vitamin A, which can increase the risk of death from lung cancer. Smoking is also a big risk factor for developing macular degeneration. If you are a smoker, quitting smoking could greatly benefit your eye health.
While vitamins are not a cure for macular degeneration, they can certainly aid in slowing the progression down so that further damage is avoided. If you are in need of guidance on supplements for MD, schedule an appointment at Haas Vision Center today.
Anti-VEGF treatment is a treatment option often used for those who have wet macular degeneration. The treatment offers a way to slow down vision loss in these patients. The anti-VEGF drug can reduce the growth of abnormal blood vessels, which can prevent bleeding, scar tissue, and other problems that can lead to vision loss.
After the eye has been numbed, the anti-VEGF drug is injected into the eye with a thin needle. It is expected that patients will need a minimum of three treatments, though it is not uncommon to receive 10 or more treatments. Most people will need injections every four to twelve weeks, but the frequency of treatments depends on how well your eye is responding.
During an exam, the physicians at Haas Vision Center can help you determine whether or not anti-VEGF injections are right for you, and our partnership with Retinal Consultants of Southern Colorado allows us to refer you to a specialist you can trust with confidence.
Scientists struggle to find a specific cause for macular degeneration, but it is often age related. Your risk for MD increases as you age, and is most likely to occur in those age 55 and older. Some risk factors for developing macular degeneration include:
VEGF stands for vascular endothelial growth factor. VEGF is a protein produced by cells in your body, and produces new blood vessels when your body needs them. Sometimes, cells can produce too much VEGF, which leads to the production of abnormal blood vessels, causing the vision problems that arise from wet macular degeneration.
While having anything injected into your eye sounds daunting, most patients find it is not as bad as they expected it to be. A numbing agent is put on your eye before the injection, and the injection only takes a few seconds. You may feel a bit of irritation for about a day, but that is from the iodine used to sterilize the eye.
If you are looking for an eye specialist in Colorado Springs, you’ll find it at Haas Vision Center. The expert ophthalmology team will take care of all of your vision needs. If you need treatment for macular degeneration, visit our office at 6760 Corporate Drive, Suite 180, Colorado Springs, CO 80919. Schedule your appointment online today, or call us at 719-272-4227.