Laguna Hills Retina Consultants
As Laguna Hills, California retina consultants from Retina Associates of Orange County can explain, macular degeneration is an eye disease that gradually destroys your central vision. It also called age-related macular degeneration, or AMD. It is caused when the macula sustains damage and breaks down. The macula is the small but crucial central part of the retina that controls visual acuity. A healthy macula provides the ability to drive, read, watch TV, recognize faces, use a computer, and perform other visual tasks that require you to see fine detail.
Macular Degeneration is a Common Form of Eye Disease in the United States
Macular degeneration primarily affects central vision, causing blind spots or dark spots directly ahead. Notably, macular degeneration is the primary cause of vision loss among older Americans. Due to the aging of the population in the nation, the number of people affected by AMD is likely to increase significantly in the coming years. Macular degeneration is diagnosed in two forms— either dry or wet. Laguna Hills retina consultants know the dry form is the most common.
- Dry AMD: This is an early stage of this progressive eye condition. It can result from the aging and thinning of the macula. In dry AMD, yellowish spots known as drusen start to accumulate in and around the macular tissues. It is believed these spots are protein-based deposits or debris from the deteriorating tissues.
A gradual loss of central vision may occur with dry AMD. However, it is typically not nearly as severe as the wet form of AMD. Dry AMD usually progresses slowly over a period of years and may become late-stage geographic atrophy (GA). GA is a gradual degradation of retinal cells that can cause loss of eyesight.
Currently, there is no standard treatment for dry AMD. Specific nutritional supplements may help. Plus, some of the best ways to protect your eyes from developing dry AMD are to eat a healthy diet, exercise, and wear protective sunglasses that block the sun’s harmful UV rays and high-energy visible (HEV) radiation. Laguna Hills retina consultants can develop the best treatment plan for your situation.
- Wet AMD: Wet macular degeneration is much less common than dry AMD. It is an advanced and damaging form of macular degeneration. In wet macular degeneration, new blood vessels grow beneath the retina abnormally. These abnormal blood vessels leak blood and fluid. This leaking fluid causes permanent damage to light-sensitive retinal cells, which then die off and create blind or spots in the central vision.
The underlying cause of wet AMD is abnormal blood vessel growth. The body is trying to create a new network of blood vessels to bring more nutrients and oxygen to the retinal tissues. Instead, the process leads to scarring of the retina, and even central vision loss.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration generally produces slow, pain-free vision loss. In rare cases, the vision loss can be sudden and unexpected. Early signs of vision issues from AMD include:
- Blurred vision
- Shadowy areas in the central vision
- Unusually fuzzy or distorted vision
- Seeing straight lines as wavy
- Difficulty seeing details (either close-up or far away)
If left untreated, macular degeneration can lead to blindness. Early diagnosis and treatment is most likely the best way to prevent further AMD-related deterioration. If you have vision changes or loss and believe you may be suffering from macular degeneration, please contact Retina Associates of Orange County today to schedule an appointment with one of our Laguna Hills retina consultants.