What Is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration, typically age-related macular degeneration, is a common eye condition that can develop with age. The condition causes the macula (the center of the retina) to deteriorate. The macula is a vital component for vision as it allows for central vision, impacting many aspects of normal eye function and the ability to see right in front of you. At Eye Specialists of Napa Valley, we aim to recognize and treat this disease to the best of our ability, as it is a primary cause of vision loss among Americans over the age of 50. When we detect and treat macular degeneration as early as possible, we are better able to preserve your central vision.
There are two types of macular degeneration, the dry form and the more advanced wet form. For dry macular degeneration, managing the condition to reduce the risk of progression to wet AMD is vital. If you have been diagnosed with wet AMD, your doctor will likely recommend injections to delay its progression or even improve your vision. When you need treatment for macular degeneration in Napa, CA, our board-certified eye surgeons can help you create a treatment plan for both wet and dry macular degeneration.
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What Are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?
The macula aids in sending images from the optic nerve to the brain. When the macula is damaged, the brain struggles to understand the images the eyes are seeing. Patients suffering from macular degeneration typically do not exhibit symptoms until the disease processes. Some of the symptoms that may manifest as the disease worsens include:
- Visual distortions
- Difficulty adjusting to low light
- Colors may seem less bright or intense
- Generally hazy vision
- Blind spots in your field of vision
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
Though macular degeneration can be an inherited eye disease, it can also develop in individuals without a family history of the disease. Macular degeneration occurs when the macula, located at the back of the eye, starts to degenerate. Aging is the primary factor in developing age-related macular degeneration. An individual's risk of developing non-age-related macular degeneration can depend on certain factors, such as:
- Head Injuries
- Diets without the sufficient amount of nutrients
How Is Macular Degeneration Treated?
Macular degeneration is typically discovered during a routine eye exam, and our team will perform a variety of tests to diagnose the condition and determine next steps. Tests can include fundus photography, fluorescein angiography, and optical coherence tomography (OCT). Following a diagnosis of macular degeneration, we will create a macular degeneration treatment plan for you depending on the type of AMD and severity.
At Eye Specialists of Napa Valley, a common macular degeneration treatment we administer for wet macular degeneration are injections into the eye. Prior to the eye injection, you will be numbed for your comfort. Once confirmed that you are numb and the area has been cleaned, your ophthalmologist will ask you to look in a specific direction, and you will likely only feel a little pressure once the injection is given. While the injection takes just a second or two, the procedure itself takes about 20 minutes.
After your procedure, you will be able to return home. It is normal to experience some blurry vision, irritation in your eye, and redness following your injection. This typically does not last long and is perfectly normal, but if you have any concerns, our team will be happy to speak with you. For two days following your injection, you should avoid rubbing your eye.
Macular Degeneration FAQ
Is age-related macular degeneration hereditary?
Heredity and genetics can play a role in age-related macular degeneration. Your chances of getting macular degeneration are higher if you have a family history, although it doesn't mean that you will develop it. Talk to our eye doctors for more information on macular degeneration and the treatments offered.
Does reading make macular degeneration worse?
The act of reading does not make age-related macular degeneration worse. You might find that you tire easily while reading, meaning that you might require more breaks than before. Talk to our eye doctors for more information on macular degeneration treatment and how we can help.
Can macular degeneration cause blindness?
More severe cases of macular degeneration can cause blindness, but not in your peripheral vision. This means that you won't go completely blind, but depending on the severity of the macular degeneration, you can become "legally blind."
Can age-related macular degeneration only affect one eye?
Age-related macular degeneration can develop in only one eye. However, as the disease progresses, it is likely that both eyes will become affected.
Manage Your Macular Degeneration, Preserve Your Eyesight
Detecting age-related macular degeneration early on is an important aspect of preserving your eye health and eyesight. In the event you develop wet or dry macular degeneration, our team at Eye Specialists of Napa Valley can recommend treatments such as oral vitamins or even eye injections, should they be necessary. For more information on macular degeneration Napa, CA treatments or to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified ophthalmologists, contact our Napa, CA office today.