There are lots of different conditions that can affect the health and function of our eyes. One of the most commonly heard of and diagnosed is a condition known as age-related macular degeneration or AMD for short. Although it doesn’t cause complete blindness, it can have enough of an impact on your vision to make day to day tasks such as reading and recognizing faces difficult. Left untreated, your eyesight could become increasingly compromised.
Although macular degeneration is regularly diagnosed, many people still don’t fully understand what it is, why it occurs and how it can affect them. To help you stay informed and in control of your eye health, here is everything that you need to know about this common ocular condition.
Many people are surprised to discover that AMD is not just AMD. There are actually two different types of conditions – ‘wet’ and ‘dry’.
Wet macular degeneration is the least common form of the condition and is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels in a part of the eye called the macula. These blood vessels can leak blood and fluid that affect vision. The symptoms of wet AMD appear very suddenly, and prompt treatment is needed to limit the damage it can cause to your vision.
The majority of people diagnosed with macular degeneration are found to have the ‘dry’ variety – although the term is simply used to differentiate it from the ‘wet’ variety. This type of AMD occurs gradually over many years and is caused by the slow deterioration of the cells of the macula.
Age-related macular degeneration tends to affect the middle part of your vision rather than the peripheries and can affect either one eye or both eyes at the same time. Some of the symptoms that you can expect to experience include:
Contrary to popular belief, macular degeneration, like many other eye conditions, is not painful and you will not experience any discomfort as a result of having it.
It is not always known exactly what causes macular degeneration to develop, but there are some factors that could make you more likely to suffer from the condition. Common risk factors for AMD include:
Unfortunately, at the present time, there is no definitive cure for dry macular degeneration. That said, there are some lifestyle changes that you can make and treatments that can be provided that could help slow its progression and maintain your vision for longer. Your eye doctor will be able to advise you what steps you can take to limit the effect that AMD is having on your eyesight.
However, if you are diagnosed with wet AMD, you will need a series of small injections that are placed directly into the eye which will get the abnormal blood vessels causing your condition under control.
In many instances, macular degeneration is identified at regular vision screening appointments before any symptoms become apparent. However, if you are concerned that you may be suffering from macular degeneration and would like the advice and support of a team of expert eye doctors, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Family Eye Clinic in Midlothian, TX to arrange an appointment by calling (972) 775-8000.