Macular degeneration is a serious eye health condition. It is most common in people over 50, and it occurs when part of the retina, called the macula, becomes thin. This affects your central vision. There is no cure for this condition. However, at Stine Eye Center in Weston, WI, our team provides treatment options to slow the progression of the disease, preserving your vision.
Macular Degeneration Risk Factors
Although anyone can develop macular degeneration, there are certain factors that can increase your risk of developing the condition. These include:
- Age: The older you get, the greater risk you have of developing this condition.
- Family history: Studies have shown that macular degeneration can run in families.
- Cardiovascular disease: If you have a heart condition or a condition affecting your blood vessels, your risk will increase.
- Obesity: According to research, being obese can cause the condition to develop early, and it can progress quickly.
- Smoking: Being a smoker, or being exposed to second-hand smoke, can increase your risk.
Macular Degeneration Symptoms
In the early stages, you may not have any symptoms at all. As the condition progresses, you will begin to experience the following symptoms.
- Reduced central vision in both eyes
- Seeing straight lines as bent
- Needing bright lights when doing closeup work
- Trouble adapting to dim rooms
- Blurriness when reading
- Decreased brightness of colors
- Trouble recognizing faces
- A blurry or blind spot in your field of vision
Diagnosing Macular Degeneration
Our optometrist can diagnose macular degeneration during an annual eye exam. In a typical eye exam, our optometrist will use drops to dilate your eyes and examine the back of your eye. If we spot yellow deposits called drusen under the retina, we will perform further tests to confirm the diagnosis.
- Amsler grid test: The Amsler grid is a graph with straight lines. If the lines appear bent to you, macular degeneration could be the cause.
- Indocyanine green angiography: During this condition, our eye doctor will inject dye into your arm that travels to the blood vessels in your eyes. This test is helpful in determining the type of macular degeneration you have.
- Optical coherence tomography: This is an imaging test that gives our optometrist a detailed image of the retina. It can identify areas of the retina that are thinning, causing macular degeneration.
Treating Macular Degeneration
Although there is no cure for this condition, our optometrist can prescribe supplements designed to slow the progression of the disease. If you are a smoker, our optometrist will suggest you quit immediately. In addition, if you are overweight, we will suggest that you start a weight loss plan.
When vision loss has occurred and it is affecting your quality of life, we will provide low vision aids to make your life easier.
Schedule an Appointment with Our Optometrist in Weston, WI for an Eye Exam
Since macular degeneration is so serious and it often shows no early signs, routine eye exams are vital in detecting it. At Stine Eye Center in Weston, WI, our optometrist will diagnose your condition and provide ways to manage it. Call us today to schedule an appointment.