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What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive eye condition that gradually worsens with time, eventually leading to the loss of vision. It’s known as an age-related condition because it’s common amongst individuals over 60 years of age. AMD occurs when the central part of the retina (macula) weakens or wears down, interferring with optimal vision. Age-related macular degeneration can progress to severe central vision loss, but does not lead to total loss of vision.

Symptoms of Age-Related
Macular Degeneration:

  • Gradual loss of visual clarity
  • Blurry vision that worsens with time
  • Difficulty reading the fine print
  • Dark and blurry areas in the center of the vision
  • Worsening color perception
  • Symptoms that worsen with time

The earliest signs and symptoms of macular degeneration are fairly mild and benign. Most people ignore the early signs of AMD and only consult eye doctors when the vision loss escalates. However, you should contact an eye doctor at the earliest stage possible to monitor progression for risk of severe vision loss.  Your ophthalmologist will discuss treatment options.

Causes of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in adults over 60 years of age. There is no direct cause of age-related macular degeneration, but some of the leading risk factors include age, genetic predisposition, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, being female, or having a light eye color.

How is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Diagnosed?

Your eye doctor will examine your eyes to look for pigment clumping (tiny yellow spots) under the retina, one of the definitive indicators of age-related macular degeneration. You may also have to self monitor your vision with an Amsler grid, a pattern of straight lines resembling a checkerboard. If the straight lines become distorted and look wavy to you, there’s a strong chance your AMD is progressing and may require medical intervention to prevent severe loss of central vision.  Your ophthalmologist may perform numerous tests to diagnose AMD and formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

Treatments for Age-Related
Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration can’t be cured. Early diagnosis and treatment may slow down its progression and prevent you from losing additional vision. The following are some of the possible treatment options for age-related macular degeneration: anti-angiogenesis drugs, laser therapy, photodynamic laser therapy, and special low vision aids. Your eye doctor will discuss a personalized treatment plan to optimize your vision in the setting of macula degeneration.

Schedule an Appointment

Medical Surgical Eye Institute is a premier eye care provider specializing in cutting-edge diagnostic techniques that identify the root cause of your vision problems. We take a proactive approach to eye care and address your conditions at the earliest stage possible to preserve as much of your vision as possible. If you notice the signs and symptoms of age-related macular degeneration, please schedule an appointment for an eye examination.

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Contact Us (508) 853-2020