Macular degeneration is an age-related condition and is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration or AMD. Over time, your vision can become gradually blurry because the small central part of the retina called the macula becomes affected by the disease. The macula is the area of sharpest vision, so patients with AMD often have trouble reading, recognizing faces or using digital devices. There are several options for macular degeneration treatment in Fort Myers at Elmquist Eye Group. Let’s learn more.
AMD has no cure and usually becomes progressively worse over time. Treatment options are available and can slow the progression of the disease. Our Elmquist team wants to detect AMD as early as possible. Know that in the early stages, AMD often has no symptoms, so a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only method of detection. Eye exams are important and you should have them regularly.
We use treatments like laser surgery to slow the disease progression in order to prevent or reduce further vision loss and preserve your remaining vision as long as possible. Our Elmquist surgeons perform two types of laser surgery, and both are done as outpatient procedures. During laser photocoagulation, the surgeon uses the laser to burn abnormal blood vessels that have grown under the retina. This reduces additional vision loss.
We also use another procedure called photodynamic therapy (PDT). We inject a dye into a vein in your arm and the dye then travels to the area of these abnormal blood vessels which have grown under the retina. Once the vessels are highlighted, the surgeon will use a laser to block any further vessel growth. We typically do have to periodically repeat both procedures.
Patients can take steps to prevent AMD. First, know your family history. If you have a history of AMD in your family, it is particularly important to get eye exams twice per year to monitor your macula. If you smoke, stop. Smokers are at major risk of developing AMD. In fact, they are up to four times more likely than non-smokers to develop the disease.
Some research studies have linked high cholesterol with a higher risk of developing AMD. Cholesterol can build up in the blood vessels and block blood flow to the retina. Past research has found a significant link between high blood pressure and development of AMD.
The Elmquist difference
Remember that patients with AMD have good peripheral vision. However, it is the continued loss of central vision that is the hallmark of the severity of the condition. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss for older adults over age 75. The condition is age-related and with age, the prevalence of AMD increases, as does the severity of vision loss. If you suspect you have AMD, or wonder whether you might, there is macular degeneration treatment in Fort Myers at Elmquist Eye Group. We can help diagnose and manage the condition, so give us a call today.