Treating Macular Degeneration in Dallas
What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration, also called age-related macular degeneration (or AMD), is an eye disease caused by the deterioration of the macula (the central part of the retina) which is used for focusing the eye’s central vision. People with macular degeneration often have difficulty reading, driving, seeing fine details and recognizing faces and colors. In its most advanced stage, macular degeneration results in complete loss of central vision. Although there are forms of this eye disease that affect younger people, macular degeneration typically develops in people who are 60 years old or older.
The Two Types of Macular Degeneration
There are two basic types of macular degeneration: the “dry” (or atrophic) type and the “wet” (or exudative) type.
Dry macular degeneration is the most common type of AMD, and occurs when cells in the macula that are responsible for reflecting light onto the retina start to break down. This leads to a gradual blurring and loss of vision over time. Dry macular degeneration usually affects both eyes, though it may only cause vision distortions or loss in one eye.
- An increased amount of drusen (yellow deposits under the retina), which can be detected during a dilated eye exam
- Blurry or darkened central vision
- Difficulty reading and recognizing faces as a result of central vision loss
- Increased dependence on light, needing more light to see clearly
- Problems seeing color clearly; colors appear less bright
Wet macular degeneration is less common than the dry variety of the disease; with this type, blood vessels begin to form under the macula. These vessels are fragile, and leak blood and fluid into the eye as a result, causing damage to the macula. For people with wet macular degeneration, the loss of their central vision can occur quickly and result in permanent vision loss.
- Straight lines appearing wavy
- Objects in line of sight appearing smaller or farther away than they are
- Blind spots in the central vision
- Sudden onset of symptoms
- Rapid vision deterioration and/or loss
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
The causes of macular degeneration are not completely known, but research has shown that the eye disease may be linked to the aging process, a person’s genetics and certain lifestyle factors. People who are at an increased risk of developing macular degeneration:
- Are over 60 years of age
- Are smokers
- Are obese
- Have high blood pressure
- Have certain medical conditions
- Have a family history of AMD
How is Macular Degeneration Detected?
Macular degeneration can be detected during a routine dilated eye exam at Saland Vision’s Dallas location, where one of our eye doctors will look for symptoms of the condition that include tiny yellow deposits (called drusen) on the retina. Other tests of visual acuity, including checking central and peripheral vision, can help to determine if further testing for the condition is needed. Your medical history and any vision problems you are experiencing will also be considered.
Treating Macular Degeneration at Saland Vision
Though there is currently no cure for macular degeneration, there are treatments available that will help prevent or slow the vision loss that occurs as a result of this eye condition. At Saland Vision, we offer our patients treatments that include laser surgery, where a beam of laser light is used to destroy abnormal blood vessels that have accumulated beneath the macula. Another treatment available is photodynamic therapy, or PDT, which uses a photosensitive drug injection that is activated by a low-power laser light in order to destroy the abnormal blood vessels on the retina that contribute to the worsening of this condition.
Talk to a Saland Vision Eye Doctor Today
If you are noticing changes to your vision, particularly any amount of vision loss or distortions, it is important to have your eyes checked by a trained eye doctor as soon as possible. Early detection of macular degeneration is essential in order to prevent, or dramatically slow, vision loss. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call Saland Vision at (214) 691-8000.