Age-related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in older Americans. The condition affects your central vision and over time creates blind spots that continue to grow. At Dr. Gundersheimer’s Eye-Do Optical in Sherman, Texas, Jerry Gundersheimer, OD diagnoses and manages macular degeneration to protect your eye health and your vision. Call the office or schedule an exam online today for a comprehensive eye exam.
What is macular degeneration?
Your macula is the part of your retina that controls your visual acuity, allowing you to perceive detail, read, and have a clear central field of vision. Macular degeneration is a condition where your macula breaks down and impairs your vision.
There are two kinds of macular degeneration: wet and dry.
Dry macular degeneration is the most common form of the disease, affecting 80% of people who have the disease. When you have dry macular degeneration, your macula becomes thin, and protein deposits called drusen develop, impairing your vision.
Wet macular degeneration is less common, but it develops more quickly and is more dangerous to your vision. Wet macular degeneration develops when abnormal blood vessels grow under your macula, leak fluids, and create scar tissue.
What causes macular degeneration?
Your genes contribute to your risk of developing macular degeneration. While aging plays a role, you’re more likely to have macular degeneration if a member of your family also has the condition. Other risk factors for macular degeneration include:
- Being overweight
- Having a high-fat diet
If you have a family history of macular degeneration, make sure to talk to Dr. Gundersheimer about your risk and have routine screenings.
How is macular degeneration diagnosed?
Dr. Gundersheimer uses a variety of tests to check for signs of macular degeneration. For example, he will use dilating drops to open your pupil, which allows him to examine the inside of your eye, including your macula and the rest of your retina. He will also check your vision for dull or blind spots that could indicate macular damage.
If any of the standard tests for macular degeneration have positive results, he can order further diagnostic testing to confirm your diagnosis and gauge the severity of your condition.
How is macular degeneration treated?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for dry macular degeneration. However, Dr. Gundersheimer offers monitoring services and can suggest nutritional supplements such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and lutein to slow the progression of the disease.
If you have wet macular degeneration, Dr. Gundersheimer can prescribe anti-VEGF medication. VEGF, short for vascular endothelial growth factor, is a protein that encourages blood vessels to grow, and the medication is injected directly into your eye to reduce abnormal blood vessel growth in your retina. Laser surgery may be a treatment option for some forms of wet macular degeneration.
If you’re concerned about macular degeneration, call the practice or schedule an exam online.