What is a macular degeneration?
The macula is the center and most vital part of the retina and is about 1/16″ in diameter. The macula enables us to do anything that requires focused vision, directly in front of us, such as driving or watching television. Macular degeneration is a condition in which the macule degenerates. There are two forms: atrophic (dry) where a pigment is deposited in the macula without apparent scars, blood or fluid leakage, and exudative (wet) where there is leakage which forms a mound that eventually contracts and leaves a scar. Usually, both eyes are affected at the same time.
What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?
Symptoms usually do not appear in anyone under the age of 55. Precise central vision is lost gradually and painlessly. Vision may be distorted or dim, especially while reading. There may be blank spots in the area of central vision, and straight lines may appear wavy. People in the high-risk category for advanced wet macular degeneration are those with hypertension, diabetes or heart disease. Macular degeneration can severely damage vision but rarely leads to complete blindness. Usually it does not affect the ability to see colors or peripheral vision.
What tests are conducted to diagnose macular degeneration?
First, a routine eye examination is conducted. The doctor will carefully inspect the condition of the macula after your eyes have been dilated with special drops to allow a full view of the interior of the eye. Often, your eyes will be further tested with a painless procedure called fluorescein angiography, which is used to view the condition of blood vessels in your eyes to spot any abnormalities.
What is the treatment for macular degeneration?
Unfortunately, little can be done to improve vision once macular degeneration started. The primary effort is aimed at limiting further degeneration. As new blood vessels grow in or around the macula, however, they can often be destroyed before they damage vision further with a special laser. This procedure is performed right in the doctor’s office and only takes a few minutes.
Here at The Eye Centers of Racine & Kenosha we keep up to date on new research and new treatments. Call 262 637 0500 today! to scheduled your appointment.
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