Macular degeneration is one of the most common causes for blindness in the US among people over 65 years old. Typically, this disease runs in families. Despite its prevalence, there is currently no cure for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, there are a number of effective treatment options to slow or stop its progression.
Treatments for AMD can help you avoid vision loss and blindness, and in some cases they even improve the eyesight of patients with AMD. If you have macular degeneration, our knowledgeable eye doctors at Cove Eyecare will treat your disease to promote the lasting quality of your vision. Located in Copperas Cove, we’re pleased to serve many patients from surrounding communities, such as Killeen, TX. We care about your eyes!
What Happens After Diagnosis Of Macular Degeneration?
If our eye doctors detect your eye disease when it first begins, many preventive measures can be taken to treat AMD so that your vision remains as healthy as possible. That’s why routine eye exams are so critical! During your eye exam at Cove Eyecare, we’ll evaluate your ocular health thoroughly to look for any signs of macular degeneration. If we detect any problems, we’ll recommend appropriate treatment immediately.
What Are The Symptoms Of Macular Degeneration?
Your Copperas Cove eye doctor can detect the beginning signs of macular degeneration during an eye exam, way before you notice any symptoms. In early AMD, an inspection of the retina will reveal tiny fatty waste deposits beneath the retina, called drusen. Sometimes, the macula also exhibits a change in pigment color.
As AMD progresses beyond the early stage, many people experience fuzzy or blurred vision. They may see straight lines or objects as wavy, such as the edge of a window or text on a page. Some objects may also appear smaller than they are in reality, and a dark or gray area may appear in the center of the visual field. Another common symptom is seeing colors faded or washed out, without brightness or vibrancy.
What Happens As AMD Progresses?
Once you are diagnosed with macular degeneration, you will need regular follow-up exams with your eye doctor. Dr. Young will instruct you on how often to visit our Copperas Cove clinic, which serves many patients from Killeen and surrounding neighborhoods.
Stages Of Macular Degeneration
There are three basic stages of AMD, and both eyes do not necessarily share the same stage. In addition, not everyone with early AMD will develop late AMD, and if the disease is diagnosed early – our Copperas Cove eye doctor will recommend steps that you can take to slow the progression and decrease your risk of vision loss.
- Early AMD: In many people, AMD does not progress beyond the early stage of having drusen on the retina. During this degree of the disease, medium-sized drusen (about the width of a human hair) are evident. Usually, there is no vision loss.
- Intermediate AMD: People with middle stage macular degeneration generally have changes in the retinal pigment color along with large drusen. Only an eye exam can detect these signs. Sometimes, vision loss also occurs.
- Late AMD: Vision loss, caused by damage to the macula, is most noticeable as macular degeneration progresses to a late stage. The specific cause of vision loss varies depending upon the type of AMD. With dry AMD, the light-sensitive cells in the macula break down gradually, which leads to a slow loss of vision. With wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid, which can cause inflammation and damage to the macula. This type of damage can be very fast and severe.
What Is Treatment For The Two Types Of Macular Degeneration?
Dry macular degeneration: this type progresses more slowly and vision damage is usually less severe. When dry AMD is diagnosed early, our eye doctors can help prevent it from advancing into wet AMD, which is generally more aggressive and extreme.
Treatment may consist of taking high doses of zinc and antioxidants. More scientific research is needed, yet a promising study by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health demonstrated that specific vitamins (C, E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper) decreased the risk of vision loss in patients with dry macular degeneration.
Wet macular degeneration: with this type, abnormal blood vessels grow (angiogenesis) and leak, leading to the development of scar tissue. Wet AMD is the more serious form of this eye disease.
Treatment may involve injecting AMD medication directly into your eye, which works to suppress the growth of more problematic blood vessels. Laser therapy is another encouraging treatment option in which laser is used to destroy abnormal blood vessels that are growing.
Our experienced and compassionate optometry team is dedicated to partnering with you – our respected patient – to ensure that you receive the best eye care services. We believe in discussing all the benefits, risks, and limitations of various macular degeneration treatments with our patients. We look forward to treating patients from Killeen, TX, and all surrounding neighborhoods!