What Is Macular Degeneration?
The macula is an essential part of your retina as it provides clear, sharp vision for objects and details straight in front of you (also known as central vision). However, it is not uncommon for the macula to progressively break down as part of a condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The disease causes gradual vision loss, and symptoms can include blurry vision, as well as dark spots in your central vision field. As an age-related condition, macular degeneration is more common in individuals over 65. At inVision Ophthalmology Tuscaloosa, our expert ophthalmology team detects macular degeneration and provides effective management options during comprehensive eye exams at our Tuscaloosa, AL facility.
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Macular Degeneration Causes and Treatment
There are two types of AMD: wet macular degeneration and dry macular degeneration. The dry form is the most common type, which tends to occur more gradually while the wet form is more advanced and can result in severe vision impairment. Macular degeneration is normally discovered during routine eye exams in Tuscaloosa, AL. Typically, we will dilate your eyes prior to performing several tests, which may include a retinal exam (ophthalmoscopy), visual field test, fluorescein angiography, and tonometry. While there is no cure for macular degeneration, our doctors will do everything they can to treat your symptoms and manage your disease. Depending on the type of AMD you have, management options may include low-vision aids, photocoagulation (a laser procedure), and nutritional supplements. If you have wet AMD, you might be a candidate for anti-VEGF injections, which reduce the growth and swelling of blood vessels that lead to vision loss.
How is Macular Degeneration Diagnosed?
In some cases, macular degeneration can be detected on a routine eye exam. To begin, our knowledgeable providers will ask questions about any vision changes or abnormalities you may have experienced since your last exam. From there, your eyes may be dilated to allow us to perform a series of tests, including a closer examination of the back of your eye, a retinal scan, a visual field evaluation, and other diagnostic screenings. Based on the findings of these tests, it may be found that you have macular degeneration, and we will work closely with you to determine the most appropriate course of action based on the nature and stage of your condition.
Macular Degeneration FAQ
Is macular degeneration very common?
In America, about 11 million adults have macular degeneration. Studies have predicted that number could double, with as many as 22 million adults having some form of age-related macular degeneration by the year 2050.
What are the indicators you may have macular degeneration?
Warning signs of macular degeneration include changes in your eyesight that include:
- Dark or blurry spots in the center of your vision
- Difficulty adjusting your eyes to low light for reading and close work
- Haziness in your central vision
- Having problems recognizing faces
Can macular degeneration be cured?
No, there is currently no cure for macular degeneration; however, it can be successfully managed with low-vision aids, photocoagulation, nutritional supplements, and anti-angiogenic medications.
Treatment Is Available
The trusted professionals at inVision Ophthalmology Tuscaloosa have many years of experience helping patients with macular degeneration improve their eyesight. Macular degeneration doesn't always show symptoms early on, which makes it essential to have comprehensive eye exams on a routine basis. If you have noticed vision changes or if it has been a while since your last eye exam, we invite you to get in touch with our office in Tuscaloosa, AL to schedule an appointment.