The prevalence of macular degeneration increases with age, therefore the condition is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration or AMD. Over time, the macula, the central part of the retina, becomes damaged. Patients with AMD lose central vision, but keep peripheral vision. They can see boundaries like a person’s hair but often have trouble recognizing the person’s face. Patients have trouble with other central vision tasks like reading, driving or using digital devices. The Elmquist Eye Group can help. We offer macular degeneration treatment in Cape Coral. Let’s learn more.
There is no cure for AMD, and the condition does typically become progressively worse over time. Treatment options are available and we use them to slow the progression of the disease. Our Elmquist team wants to detect AMD as early as possible so we can treat it as early as possible. Eye exams are key because in the early stages, AMD often has no symptoms. A comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only method of detection. Eye exams are important and you should have them regularly.
We use several types of laser surgery treatments to slow the disease progression. These treatments are outpatient procedures aimed at limiting or preventing further blood vessel growth in the region around the macula. The blood vessels are abnormal and leak into the area of the eye, so by preventing new vessel growth, we limit the leakage and thereby reduce or even prevent further vision loss.
There are some limitations to the laser procedures. First, we typically do have to periodically repeat these procedures; leakage reoccurs in half of the cases within two years. Second, sometimes we can’t effectively treat all the blood vessels with laser surgery due to their size.
We also use a therapy called anti-VEGF therapy which involves injections of a chemical that reduces VEGF or vascular endothelial growth factor, a substance that the body naturally produces to generate new blood vessels. VEGF is unhealthy in a person with AMD, so by injecting anti-VEGF, we can limit or prevent new blood vessels from growing behind the retina.
What you can do
Patients can take steps to protect their eyes in an effort to prevent AMD. It is always a good idea to protect your eyes from our intense Florida sun. While there is no research evidence that directly links sun damage to AMD, some research does suggest that cumulative eye damage from UV rays may be linked in some fashion to a person developing AMD. Invest in a good pair of sunglasses that protect against damaging UVB and UVA rays. Eye exams are so important, particularly if you have a history of AMD in your family. We recommend annual eye exams for all our patients who are over the age of 60.
As people age, the loss of central vision that is the hallmark of AMD does become more severe. AMD is quite prevalent among adults over age 75. In fact, it is the leading cause of vision loss in this age group. If you suspect you have AMD, or wonder whether you might, there is macular degeneration treatment in Cape Coral at Elmquist Eye Group. We can help diagnose and manage the condition, so give us a call today.