Macular Degeneration

Dry macular degeneration is a serious condition of the eye. This condition affects your central vision, and over time, the condition causes your vision to worsen. Because this condition is so severe, it is essential that you schedule annual eye exams. Schedule an appointment with Warm Springs Optometric Group in Fremont, CA. 

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What Is Macular Degeneration?

This is a disease that is characterized by the thinning of the macula. The macula is the part of the retina that allows you to see what is right in front of you. When the macula thins, it causes vision loss.

Who Is At Risk For Macular Degeneration?

Although anyone can get macular degeneration, there are risk factors that can increase your chances of getting this disease. These include:

  • This condition is most common in people over the age of 50.
  • Studies have shown that smoking cigarettes can increase your risk.
  • If you are overweight or obese, studies show that you are more likely to develop this disease.
  • If you have any disease that affects your heart or blood vessels, your chances of developing macular degeneration increase.
  • This condition is more common in Caucasians.

What Are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?

In the early stages, macular degeneration shows no symptoms. As the disease progresses, you can begin to experience the following symptoms:

  • Blurriness of printed words
  • Needing brighter lights when reading
  • Difficulty adjusting to low-level light
  • Seeing colors less brightly.
  • Seeing straight lines as bent
  • Reduced central vision
  • Difficulty recognizing faces

How Is Macular Degeneration Diagnosed?

During your annual eye exam, your optometrist will examine the back of your eye. If they see yellow deposits called drusen under the retina, they will run further tests. These include:

  • Amsler grid test: This is a visual test. If you look at the card and see broken, faded or distorted lines, there is a chance that you have macular degeneration.
  • Indocyanine green angiography: During this test, your optometrist would inject dye into your arm, which travels to the blood vessels in your eyes. This test can determine whether you have wet or dry macular degeneration.
  • Optical coherence tomography: This is an imaging test that can identify the areas where the retina is thinning.

Treatment for Macular Degeneration

Unfortunately, there is no cure for macular degeneration. There are supplements available that can slow the progression of the disease, but vision loss is inevitable. When you start losing your vision, there are low vision aids available that can make life easier. These include:

  • Handheld magnifiers
  • Speech to text software
  • Clocks and remotes with large numbers
  • Large print publications
  • Audiobooks

Because macular degeneration is such a serious disease, it is essential that you schedule an eye exam every year. Schedule an appointment with Warm Spring Optometric Group in Fremont, CA. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today.

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