Macular Degeneration Treatment
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What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is an eye disorder related to the retina most commonly diagnosed in patients older than the age of 50. Macular degeneration occurs when the macula, a part of the retina, becomes damaged causing loss of central vision while the peripheral vision remains intact. This eye disorder can disrupt a person’s quality of life and refrain them from engaging in their daily activities, such as reading, or driving.Although macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss, at Menger Eye Centre, early detection, self-care measures and effective treatment can slow down or delay the progression of vision loss.
Symptoms and causes of Macular Degeneration
At present, unfortunately macular degeneration is considered an incurable eye disease. Macular degeneration causes damage to the macula, which is the central portion of the retina that controls our central vision and is responsible in controlling our ability to read, drive and recognize faces, and colors in fine detail. During the early stages of macular degeneration, patients may suffer from blurred vision with dark areas or blind spotsvisible in their field of vision making it difficult to focus on detail.
Types of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration consists of two types;
- Dry macular degeneration; this type of macular degeneration is relatively common and occurs when the macula becomes thinner due to age forming small clumps of protein, called drusen. As a result, this causes gradual loss of central vision.
- Wet macular degeneration; this type of macular degeneration is not as common;however, it is a more serious form of macular degeneration causing abnormal growths of blood vessels under the retina. Scarring of the macula develops due to leakage of blood and other fluids from the abnormal blood vessels. Patients with wet macular degeneration lose their vision at a much faster rate than those suffering from dry macular degeneration.
Diagnosis of Macular Degeneration at Menger Eye Centre
Since macular degeneration goes unnoticed due to it sharing similar symptoms of blurred vision with other eye disorders, at Menger Eye Centre, we offer regular routine eye exams to detect early onset of macular degeneration before the disease steals your vision. Before a complete diagnosis of macular degeneration is stated, a family medical history is necessary in determining the underlying cause of developing this disorder. Patients who are overweight, older than the age of 50, have hypertension or a family history of macular degeneration tend to have a higher risk of developing macular degeneration.
During the eye exam, Dr. Peter Menger may examine your vision by using an Amsler grid, which consists of square comprising of grid patterns with a dot placed in the middle. This helps detect any problems in the field of vision, such as blurry or blank spots. Since further testing is required to rule out any other eye disorders, Dr. Peter Menger will undergo a thorough eye examination.This includes; applying eyedrops to each eye to dilate the pupil which allows for enhanced viewing through special lens; undergoing a fluorescein angiography to examine any blockage or leaking in the blood vessels. During a fluorescein angiography, a yellow dye is injected into a vein in the patients arm. As the dye travels through the blood vessels a camera takes images of the passing dye in the retina. This allows us to diagnose any abnormalities detected during the exam. We may also carry out an optical coherence tomography (OCT) which captures detailed digital images of the retina and macula.
Treatment of Macular Degenration at Menger Eye Centre
Since macular degeneration cannot be reversed, at Menger Eye Centre, we provide effective care and management services to delay the progression of macular degeneration. These include;
- Anti-angiogenesis drugs
- Nutritional supplements; such as; vitamin C, E, Zinc, Copper and many other combinations of vitamins and minerals
- Laser surgery; usually performed to treat wet macular degeneration. The laser light beam reduces the abnormal growth of blood vessels and slows their leakage.
- Photodynamic laser therapy
All treatment options are effective dependent on the patient’s health status and needs. During initial consultation at Menger Eye Centre, we discuss the potential outcomes, limitations and consequences of undergoing any eye surgeries with our patients so that they have both the knowledge and understanding of what step they can take to improve their quality of life.