Macular Degeneration

Treatment for macular degeneration in Lincoln, NE

What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration is a condition that is mainly characterized by a painless distortion of the central portion of the retina so that it deteriorates and loses its function significantly. This portion of the retina is called the macula, and it is responsible for the patient’s central vision or the ability to look straight ahead. The macula also gives the patient the ability to see the finer details of the objects that are in his or her direct line of sight. In fact, it is the macula that allows each of the patient’s eyes to have clear vision during certain activities such as reading, driving, and even facial and color recognition. When a patient has macular degeneration, it impairs clear and normal straight ahead vision so that it becomes blurred and hazy. In more advanced cases of macular degeneration, a blind spot may actually form at the center of the patient’s visual field.

What are the different types of macular degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration or AMD is considered as the most common type of the condition, which is prevalently found among the elderly patients. Age-related macular degeneration is associated with aging because it is during this phase of a patient’s life that the macula is generally deteriorated enough to cause a decline in the patient’s central vision. Patients of this age, with this condition, can no longer see objects very clearly, which hinders them from carrying out typical activities such as driving or reading. AMD is further classified into:

  • Wet age-related macular degeneration is a chronic form of the disease that is caused by the leakage of fluid, particularly blood, into the region of the macula because of broken or damaged blood vessels that surround it. The subnormal blood vessels grill in between the right night and the sclera and can sometimes grow into the macula. And because they are very fragile, they often break and leak blood and other fluids into the macula, which causes it to be displaced from its normal position at the back of the eye. If left untreated, wet macular degeneration can cause vision loss rapidly.

Some of the symptoms of wet macular degeneration include diminished central vision, a marked decrease in the perceived intensity of colors, visual distortions, or the development of a blurry or blind spot invitations field of vision. What AMD has a very abrupt onset and its symptoms can develop or becomes worse rapidly. Patients who suspect that they might have this condition because of changes in their central vision or in their ability to see finer details or colors must seek a doctors advice immediately. Photodynamic therapy and photocoagulation are also some of the procedures that are used to treat the abnormal blood vessels that appear around the macula.

As detrimental as this condition seems to be, there is no cure for wet AMD. Early detection, however, is key to help slow the macular degeneration and reduce the progression other patient’s vision loss. Certain medications have been known to help stop the proliferation of blood vessels that trigger this condition. Bevacizumab, Ranibizumab, Pegaptanib, and Aflibercept are examples of medications that can be directly injected into the eye, ideally at a four-week interval, to achieve this purpose.

  • Dry age-related macular degeneration generally manifests the same symptoms as a typical condition of AMD where the macula breaks down to significantly distort central vision. In dry AMD, the symptoms often occur in one eye first before they begin to be manifested in the other one. The exact causes of dry AMD are unknown, but it is the more common type of age-related macular degeneration.

It is characterized by the abnormal growth of blood vessels under the retina, manifested mainly as retinal drusen that appear as yellow deposits right under the retina. Drusens can be detected when the patient undergoes a comprehensive dilated eye exam. The symptoms of dry age-related macular degeneration include deteriorating facial or color recognition, a significant increase in difficulty to adapting to low light levels that brings about need for brighter light when engaged in certain activities like reading, a gradual haziness that takes over the patient’s central or overall vision, the appearance of a blurred or blind spot in the patient’s central vision, for the distortion of geometric shapes.

Unfortunately, there is no known treatment that can reverse the effects of macular degeneration. However, this does not guarantee inevitable blindness. Dry AMD has symptoms that progress very slowly over time, which means that the patient can still lead a relatively normal life. Doctors recommend a vitamin regimen composed of a high dose formulation of antioxidants and Zinc to help decelerate the progression of macular degeneration and preserve the patient’s vision for longer. For patients with advanced cases of macular degeneration, the surgical implant of a telescopic lens may be able to improve their vision.