Macular Degeneration

What is Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration describes a wide variety of serious eye conditions which affect a persons most centrally located, clearest vision. The macula is a small, but very important part of the retina located in the very back of the eye. It consists of highly concentrated, light absorbing nerve cells. In various forms, the macula deteriorates causing blurring and distortion of this central vision. These conditions cause a deterioration and loss of the photoreceptor and other cells within this very important part of the retina. Unfortunately, no treatment is available for a majority of macular degenerations. However, it is unusual for this disease to result in total blindness, and with good peripheral vision, most patients can lead independent lives with the help of many available low vision aids.

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Age-related macular degeneration is one of the most common causes of legal blindness within the elderly population over 60. Many forms of macular degeneration are genetic, meaning it tends to run in families.

There are two main types of age-related macular degeneration; the atrophic type (“dry”) and the disciform type (“wet”). Laser treatment and new microsurgical techniques may be of use in some cases of the “wet” form of this disease.

Early detection of any changes in ones vision, such as blurring, difficulty in reading, and distortion of straight lines, is important to the success of any treatment when possible. Because the progress of macular degeneration is slow and irreversible, regular eye checkups after the age of 50 is very important. Much effort and progress is being made to understand and formulate methods of treatment for this most inhibiting eye disease.

Dry Form

The “dry” form (or atrophic type) of macular degeneration affects the most central, clear vision in the back of the eye within the retina. Treatment of this type of macular degeneration is very difficult.

Wet Form

The “wet” form (or disciform type), also affects the central vision. Membranes and/or hemorrhages may affect this area. Laser treatment may help in some cases.

How It Affects Vision

A normal field of view is shown compared to how macular degeneration affects the most central, clear vision.

The Treatment

In some cases of the “wet” form of macular degeneration, laser application to the affected area of the retina may help.

Interested in pursuing treatment for your Macular Degeneration? Be sure to schedule an appointment with us at one of our three locations.