For many aging Americans, macular degeneration is a fact of life. The American Optometric Association estimates that it’s the leading cause of blindness. In fact, this eye disease causes more cases of blindness annually than glaucoma and cataracts combined.
For that reason, your eye doctor at Insight Eyecare & Eyewear in Chandler wants to diagnose and start treating your case or that of a loved one as soon as possible. While there is no cure, early diagnosis can be key to slowing the progress of the disease and avoiding severe blindness.
First, understand that when we speak of this disease, it usually refers to the most common type: Age-related Macular Degeneration, or AMD.
Deterioration of the Macula
The macula is the central region of the retina, the organ in the eye that records what we see and transmits the data to your brain via optic nerves. AMD is a slow deterioration of the macula, the retina part that sharpens the focus on the images sent to your brain. As the disease takes effect, your peripheral vision isn’t at risk, but the central part of your vision gradually blurs.
Dry and Wet Forms
There are two forms of AMD: wet and dry. Dry macular degeneration is what was just described -- this slow breakdown of the functionality of the macula. This is the form taken in 85 to 90 percent of cases.
The wet form of the eye disease is much rarer, but often the next stage of dry macular degeneration. With this disorder, new and leaky blood vessels are formed behind the retina. The leakage of blood and other fluids causes the retinal cells to malfunction.
Avoiding the Risk
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to avoid the threat. The main risk factors are age, race (it strikes Caucasians at a higher rate than other races) and heredity.
However, there is one risk you can control: smoking. In addition to the other health risks posed to smokers, the AMD risk is heightened.
How We’ll Address Your Issue
Our first step is a diagnosis. We’ll run tests that will tell us if you’re experiencing macular degeneration. We’ll also be able to tell you if you have the dry or the wet form of the disease.
With that, we can begin addressing your issue. The treatment for dry macular degeneration can involve a supplement formula that contains vitamins shown to slow the progression of the disease.
Photodynamic laser therapy can stop the growth of the weakened blood vessels that cause the wet form of the disease. And an injection of anti-angiogenic drugs can stop the dry form from turning wet.
In addition, if you only have the disease in one eye, your eye doctor will begin to regularly monitor your other eye to being earliest possible treatment if we see early signs of the disease. We’ll also show you how to monitor your own sight for signs of dry macular degeneration turning wet.
Schedule an Appointment Today!
In short, we have treatment options that can help you or a loved one get an early diagnosis and minimize the damage. To get treatment started, call for an appointment at (480) 883-0900, or book one online, here.
You’ll find Insight Eyecare & Eyewear at 4925 South Alma School Road, Suite 1, in Chandler. We’re eager to serve all of your vision and eye care needs.