If you cannot see properly, it can seriously affect your quality of life and ability to perform even simple daily activities like reading or driving. If you suffer from macular degeneration, the clearest, central part of your vision may become distorted or blurred. Your macula is located in the center of your retina, the tissue at the back of your eye that senses light and sends signals to your brain so you can see. At Grin Eye Care, we can help you monitor and manage both wet and dry macular degeneration to preserve your vision. Contact our Olathe or Leawood office to learn more about this condition or schedule a consultation with one of our doctors.
A Closer Look at Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration involves the breakdown of retinal cells in the macula. There are two types of this disease. Dry macular degeneration is the most common type, affecting about 90% of patients with the condition. Patients with dry macular degeneration may experience blurred vision or blind spots in their central vision, which are believed to be the result of thinning macular tissue and/or accumulated debris called drusen. Straight lines may also appear crooked and you may have difficulty seeing in low light.
Wet macular degeneration is much less common. Abnormal blood vessels grow on the macula and leak fluid or blood, obscuring vision similarly to diabetic retinopathy. Wet macular degeneration causes more pronounced and rapid vision loss, and can sometimes develop from the dry form of the disease.
Who is at Risk?
Macular degeneration is most commonly related to aging. In fact, it is the leading cause of blindness and loss of vision in Americans over 65 years old. Caucasians and women are at higher risk for macular degeneration. Doctors are still studying the causes of macular degeneration, but most agree that patients are at increased risk if they:
- Have high cholesterol
- Smoke (or are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke)
- Have a family history of macular degeneration, since it may be a hereditary disease
- Eat an unhealthy diet with few fruits and vegetables
To reduce your risk, make sure you eat a diet high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, exercise regularly, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays and radiation.
Our Treatment Options
If you suffer from dry macular degeneration, we will monitor your condition at regular intervals using the CIRRUS™ HD-OCT, which takes high-definition pictures of your retina. We also recommend AREDS-2 vitamins, which may slow the progression of the disease and improve your ocular health. If you suffer from wet macular degeneration, we will refer you to a local retinal specialist for intravitreal injections, which can shrink abnormal retinal blood vessels. For serious cases, we may be able to schedule an appointment with a retinal specialist for you on the same day as or day after your visit to our office.