What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular Degeneration is a fairly common eye condition that affects patients who are 50 years of age or older. The condition causes damaged to the macula, which is a small spot near the center of the retina. This part of the eye is used for sharp, central vision, which allows for the eye to see straight ahead. Macular Degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss among patients age 50 and older. The condition itself will not lead to complete blindness, but the loss of central vision that is causes can impede with everyday activities like driving, reading, and the ability to see faces.
Who is affected by Macular Degeneration?
Macular Degeneration is most commonly seen in patients aged 50 or older, but the condition may begin earlier. Other risk factors that can cause macular degeneration include smoking, race, and family history. Smokers are twice as likely to develop macular degeneration as non-smokers. Maintaining a healthy diet, regularly exercising, and watching blood pressure and cholesterol levels can help slow the progression of macular degeneration.
When a patient arrives at Marano Eye Care, our team will perform an eye exam to determine the progression of the macular degeneration. Diagnostic tests may include a visual acuity test, a dilated eye exam, an Amsler grid, a Fluorescein angiogram, and an optical coherence tomography. Throughout these exams, our physicians will be on the lookout for drusen, which is a naturally occurring yellow deposit beneath the retina. Drusen develops as the patient ages, but the presence of a significant amount of drusen can indicate macular degeneration.
Macular Degeneration Treatments
Patients who have an advanced level of macular degeneration may choose to have Marano Eye Care perform different types of therapies to stop further vision loss. Injections can be used to block the growth of abnormal blood cells within the retina. Photodynamic therapy involves laser treatment of select areas of the retina. This treatment utilizes a drug which is introduced to the body that attaches itself to the new abnormal blood cells. A laser is then used to activate the drug within the cells, causing them to be closed off and slowing the growth.
To learn more about treatments that Marano Eye Care can provide for patients who are experiencing vision loss due to macular degeneration, please come visit us at one of our North Jersey locations in Livingston and Newark.