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Macular Degeneration: The Importance of Geriatric Eye Exams

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As we age, the risk of developing a disease or chronic condition increases. This also applies to our vision and for many seniors, a common concern is the development of macular degeneration. Fortunately, with regular geriatric eye exams, seniors can receive treatment to maintain their vision and prevent or manage macular degeneration.

Book an appointment at Cove Eyecare for your annual geriatric eye exam and prevent age from impairing your vision.

CALL 254-549-1142

What is a Geriatric Eye Exam?

Several common eye diseases linked to aging can do harm to your vision, without showing any symptoms at first. Regular geriatric eye exams can spot symptoms before you can. A geriatric eye exam is a comprehensive eye exam tailored specifically to the needs of seniors. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that everyone over 60 undergo an eye exam each year. During this exam, an optometrist will conduct a thorough evaluation of a patient's vision and eye health. They also perform tests to check for conditions like age-related macular degeneration.

What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is a condition that affects the macula, a part of the retina responsible for central vision. This condition causes a gradual deterioration of the macula, leading to vision loss and, in severe cases, blindness. When the macula is harmed by aging, it is called age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration is the most common form and progresses slowly over time. Although less common, wet macular degeneration is more severe. Weak new blood vessels develop behind the retina and leak blood and fluid, causing sudden vision loss.

Macular Degeneration Treatment

​​While there is currently no cure for macular degeneration, there are treatments available that can slow the progression of the disease. For dry macular degeneration, treatment may involve taking specific vitamins and minerals, as well as making lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and exercising regularly. Wet macular degeneration may require more aggressive treatment options, such as injections into the eye, laser therapy, or photodynamic therapy. The best course of treatment will depend on the type and severity of macular degeneration.

The Importance of Geriatric Eye Exams in Detecting Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration left untreated can lead to severe vision loss and even blindness. As with most eye conditions, early detection is key. Diagnosing macular degeneration typically involves a visual acuity test, an eye exam, and an evaluation of the macula using specialized imaging technology. Your optometrist may also perform an Amsler grid test to detect any distortion or changes in your central vision. By undergoing regular geriatric eye exams, seniors can receive an early diagnosis and treatment plan to effectively manage the disease.

Your Optometrist in Copperas Cove, Texas

We can assist you with a wide range of eye care services, including a geriatric eye exam and macular degeneration treatment. Trust Cove Eyecare for all your vision needs.

CALL 254-549-1142

Macular Degeneration: Q&A

What are the early warning signs of macular degeneration?

The following are some early signs of macular degeneration:

  1. Blurred or distorted vision, especially in the central part of your field of vision.
  2. Difficulty recognizing faces or reading fine print.
  3. Colors appearing less vibrant or less vivid.
  4. Dark or empty areas in your vision.
  5. Difficulty adapting to changes in lighting, such as when entering a dark room from a brightly lit area.
  6. A gradual loss of central vision in one or both eyes.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to schedule an eye exam. Your optometrist can evaluate the macula to determine if macular degeneration or another eye condition is the cause of your symptoms.

Can macular degeneration be prevented or reversed?

You can take precaution to lower your likelihood of developing macular degeneration. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, quit smoking, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, protect your eyes from UV rays, and have regular eye exams. Also share your family’s medical history with your optometrist who can provide guidance on how to reduce your risk of developing certain eye conditions.

Although there are treatments for macular degeneration, they cannot undo the harm already done. Instead, they can only slow the disease's progression. As such, early detection is crucial in managing macular degeneration and preserving vision.