Macular Degeneration Causes
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) causes you to lose the ability to see objects in the center of your field of view. Schedule an evaluation with Elmquist Eye Group to help prevent further vision loss.
Using state-of-the-art technology, E. Trevor Elmquist, DO, and his highly skilled Elmquist Eye Group associates, including Kate Wagner, OD, partner, Nina Burt, OD, and Sarah Eccles-Brown, MD, provide a full spectrum of eye care services in a comfortable and caring setting.
We take a personal interest in every patient, skillfully diagnosing and treating a wide range of eye conditions that affect everyone from children to seniors.
What is Macular Degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration, also called AMD, is an eye condition that affects the macula, the area near the center of the retina (a membrane that lines the back of the eye) that enables you to see the fine detail needed for tasks such as reading, driving, and even recognizing faces. There are two forms – wet and dry.
Macular degeneration is part of the aging process. It is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years of age and older. As many as 11 million people in the U.S. have some form of AMD. This number is expected to double by 2050 to nearly 22 million people.
Dry AMD is more common than wet AMD. Nearly 90% of AMD patients are diagnosed with dry AMD. It has no known cause, but research suggests that part of the retina becomes diseased, leading to the slow breakdown of the macular cells and a gradual loss of central vision.
Wet AMD occurs when new blood vessels grow underneath the retina and leak blood and fluid. It is considered an advanced form of the disease, creating blind spots in the central vision and causing permanent damage to light-sensitive retinal cells. Wet AMD usually leads to more serious vision loss.
What are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?
The basic symptoms of AMD are:
- Reduced or distorted central vision in one or both eyes
- Reduced ability to distinguish colors
- A blind or blurry spot in your field of vision
- General haziness in your overall vision
- Loss of depth perception
- Difficulty recognizing faces
The only way to detect AMD is through a comprehensive dilated eye exam which includes a visual acuity test that measures how well you can see at various distances.
During a dilated eye exam, drops are placed in your eyes to widen, or dilate, the pupils. Then we use a special magnifying lens to examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of AMD and other eye problems.
How We Treat Macular Degeneration
Unfortunately, there is no way to restore vision that has been lost as a result of Dry AMD. However, your ophthalmologist will want to monitor your condition because it can turn into Wet AMD.
In its early stages, Wet AMD can be treated with laser surgery. Vision aids such as magnifying devices, closed-circuit television, large-print reading materials and special lighting can help you cope with visual impairments caused by macular degeneration.
To learn more about macular degeneration and its causes, get in touch with Elmquist Eye Group at (239) 936-2020 to schedule an appointment.