What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration involves a deterioration of the central part of the retina. The macula is the tissue at the back of the eye that transmits nerve impulses to the brain through the optic nerve. The macula is in the center of the retina, and allows us to see details. When the macula becomes damaged, vision is lost in the center of the field of vision. It is estimated that there are approximately 11 million people over the age of 40 in the U.S. suffering with age-related macular degeneration.
There are two main types of macular degeneration: dry and wet. The wet form of the condition causes abnormal blood vessels to grow in the macula. These vessels then leak, or bleed, and cause damage. The wet version of the condition is less common and tends to progress more quickly than the dry form. The dry form of macular degeneration occurs more gradually over time, and is caused by a breakdown of the macula.
The risk of developing age-related macular degeneration increases substantially over the course of a lifetime. The disease occurs in approximately 10% of people between the ages of 66-74 years of age, and it is present in about 30% of people between the ages of 75 and 85 years old. There are also rarer forms of macular degeneration that affect younger patients, including Stargardt’s disease. In addition to age, risk factors for macular degeneration including a family history of the disease and smoking. If you are related to someone who has experienced macular degeneration, your risk increases more than 50%.
Treatment for Macular Degeneration
Although there is no cure for macular degeneration, steps can be taken to alleviate symptoms and slow its progression. If you are diagnosed, Dr. Masihdas can provide the appropriate advice and support to help you manage your disease. He can also direct you to retina specialists who can use advanced procedures to slow or even reverse some effects of the disease.
Lifestyle changes also have been shown to be beneficial. Nutrition can affect the condition, and protection from UV light is also important in slowing the progression of the disease. Our office offers specialized lenses that can inhibit UV light.
Schedule an Appointment
Your vision is very important to your quality of life, and we want to help you experience the best vision possible. Take the first step towards preserving your vision by contacting us today. You can learn more about taking a proactive role in your health, or receive testing for diagnosis, during an appointment with Dr. Masihdas.