Managing Macular Degeneration: How an Eye Doctor Can Help You
Macular degeneration is a prevalent eye condition that habitually affects millions of people over the age of 50 worldwide. It is a progressive disease that causes blurred or reduced vision, making it difficult to see fine details or perform tasks requiring clear objects in your direct line of sight.
It is caused by the breakdown of the inner layers of the macula, which is a small but highly sensitive and specialized area in the center of the retina responsible for providing sharp, detailed, and colored vision. Fortunately, an eye doctor for macular degeneration can treat your condition before it worsens.
**Please note that the suggestions provided in this blog are for general informational purposes only and may not be suitable for your specific insurance plan and macular degeneration needs. It is important to consult a qualified healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment.
Macular degeneration symptoms normally appear painlessly over time. The following problems may affect one or both of the eyes:
- Distorted vision (bent or curved objects).
- Poor central vision
- Requiring brighter light when reading or performing simple tasks.
- Trouble seeing in dimly lit areas.
- Blurry objects or words.
- Faces are warped and unrecognizable.
- Blind spots in the eye.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Before jumping to self-diagnosis, it is critical to receive a proper eye evaluation from an ophthalmologist. Review your medical and family history and promptly perform a complete eye examination of both eyes with your eye doctor for macular degeneration. They may conduct a visual acuity test or a dilated eye exam as a standard. If they suspect macular degeneration, more comprehensive tests may be required, such as the following:
- Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). A non-invasive imaging technique that uses light waves to capture detailed, high-resolution images of the eye’s internal structures.
- Fluorescein Angiography. A diagnostic imaging test that uses a special dye and a camera to capture images of the blood vessels in the retina and detect leakage.
- Indocyanine Green Angiography. A diagnostic imaging test that uses a special dye and a camera to capture images of the blood vessels deep within the retina and choroid.
- Drusen Test. A procedure that uses optical coherence tomography (OCT) to detect and evaluate the presence and characteristics of drusen, which are yellow deposits that can form under the retina.
- Amsler Grid Test. A grid pattern is presented to patients to monitor changes in central visual function and pinpoint any distortions and/or abnormalities.
Once diagnosed with macular degeneration, your eye doctor in Raleigh, NC, will list your treatment options depending on the type and severity of your case. Potential treatments involve medications, such as injections of anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) drugs, laser therapy, and photodynamic therapy—but it’s ultimately up to your specialist to guide the correct course of treatment action based on your specific medical needs.
Regular eye exams are key to preventing and identifying early signs of macular degeneration. A macular degeneration doctor may help by offering suggestions, but it is always the patient’s responsibility to live a lifestyle that benefits their long-term eye health. The following strategies should be taken to diminish your chances of macular degeneration:
- Eat a healthy diet. A diet of antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids can protect your eyes from macular degeneration.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking can increase your risk by damaging the blood vessels that give nutrients and oxygen to the eye, causing oxidative stress and inflammation and blocking the absorption of vitamins C and E and beta-carotene.
- Wear sunglasses. Shielding your eyes from UV rays can preserve your retina cells and prevent the formation of free radicals.
- Manage all health conditions. Chronic problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity can increase your risk of macular degeneration, so it is essential to focus not only on your eyes but your general health.
Experience what it means to see the world a little brighter. For more information on navigating macular degeneration in your day-to-day life, request an appointment with Kelly Eye Care Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.