Macular Degeneration Treatment
Although it is not exactly a household term, macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss in Americans over 60 years old. Many of us experience this disorder as difficulty seeing fine details, especially when reading or driving. In the past, macular degeneration treatment simply involved managing the gradual vision loss with corrective lenses. However, now our macular degeneration specialists in Las Vegas, NV can significantly slow the progress of this disease, and help preserve macular health with nutritional supplements.
About Macular Degeneration
Simply put, macular degeneration is deterioration of the macula, the part of the retina responsible for central vision. Although there are other conditions which cause damage to the macula, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common form of this disorder. There are two types of macular degeneration:
- Wet Macular Degeneration - This type of macular degeneration is fairly rare, and is characterized by the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the macula and retina. These vessels can leak blood and fluid, which damages the macula, causing central vision loss, which can occur very quickly. The wet form of macular degeneration can be treated with laser or injection therapies, which will not cure wet AMD, but may slow vision loss by destroying the abnormal blood vessels. We can refer you to a retinologist if you present with this type of macular degeneration.
- Dry Macular Degeneration - This is the form of macular degeneration that most of us experience, and it is caused by the thinning and drying out of the macula that comes with age. Small, yellow deposits form beneath the macula, and as they grow and spread, they blur the central vision. These deposits are called drusen, and are detected by your ophthalmologist in Las Vegas during your comprehensive eye exam.
In its early stages, macular degeneration may not cause noticeable symptoms. As it progresses, most people notice a gradual blurring of their central vision. Peripheral vision is unaffected by macular degeneration.
Managing Macular Degeneration
- Wet Macular Degeneration - There are several treatments available for wet AMD, including laser therapy and intraocular injections. The laser is used to seal the leaking vessels and leave the healthy ones intact. Since it cannot prevent recurrence, it is likely that this treatment will need to be repeated in the future. Intraocular injection of certain drugs which inhibit the growth of abnormal blood vessels is another approach to treating wet AMD.
- Dry Macular Degeneration - Although there is no treatment for dry AMD, if it is detected early we can slow its progress and preserve vision with supplements called nutraceuticals. The National Eye Institute's Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that taking a specific combination of antioxidants and zinc significantly reduces the risk of advanced AMD and the vision loss that accompanies it. Slowing the progression of AMD from the intermediate stage to the advanced stage could help many people retain their vision for a longer period of time.
At the Westfield Eye Center, we recommend vitamin therapy for all of our AMD patients, as well as those with risk factors for developing the disorder. To learn more about vitamin therapy, talk with your eye specialist during your next visit.
To find out more about detecting and managing macular degeneration, click here to request a consultation online with a qualified ophthalmologist at the Westfield Eye Center. Or, you may call our office at 702-362-EYES (3937) to schedule an appointment.