Macular degeneration, also called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a common condition that leads to vision loss. The disease affects 14% of people aged 55-64, and the risk skyrockets to 40% in those over the age of 75. Board-certified ophthalmologist Troy L. Carter, M.D., in Abilene, Texas, protects your vision by performing comprehensive eye exams that catch the disease in an early stage and providing treatments that slow down eye damage. If you're past due for an eye exam or you notice central vision loss, call Texas Midwest Eye Center, LLP or request an appointment online today.
Macular degeneration occurs when an area in the center of your retina (macula) thins out and becomes damaged. The macula contains specialized cells that convert light into electrical impulses that go to your brain.
When you have macular degeneration, these sensitive cells are permanently damaged. As a result, you lose central vision.
You have a higher risk of developing macular degeneration if you:
Heart disease also increases your chances of developing macular degeneration.
You can develop two types of macular degeneration:
This type accounts for 85-90% of all cases of macular degeneration. Dry macular degeneration occurs when deposits of proteins and fats accumulate. These deposits, called drusen, gradually enlarge, making the macula thin out, damaging the cells, and causing gradual vision loss.
Wet macular degeneration develops when abnormal blood vessels grow in the retina. The vessels leak fluids and cause swelling that damages the macula. Without treatment, this type causes rapid vision loss.
After the macula sustains significant damage, you develop one or more of the following symptoms:
As central vision diminishes, the middle of your visual field darkens.
Your treatment depends on the type:
There's currently no medical treatment for dry macular degeneration. However, you may slow down the progressive damage by taking a therapeutic dose of supplemental eye vitamins. Dr. Carter sells one of the top vitamin formulas in the office.
Dr. Carter may recommend one of several treatments for wet macular degeneration. Medications called anti-VEGF drugs, laser photocoagulation, and photodynamic therapy are three examples of treatments that reduce the number of abnormal blood vessels and stop the vessels from leaking.
Early treatment is the key to slowing down progressive macular degeneration. To schedule an appointment, call the office of Troy L. Carter, M.D., or book an appointment online today.