Orange County Retina Specialist
Age Related Macular Degeneration and Retina Specialist
Age related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the most common cause of vision problems and vision loss in people over 60 years of age. This eye disease has a direct effect on the retina, which is made up of thin tissue that lines the back of the eye. Inside the center of the retina is the macula. This contains high amounts of cones which are cells sensitive to light. Cones are responsible for providing clear, sharp, and detailed central vision. When AMD is present, the cells within the macula begin to breakdown and die. This results in distorted central vision and blind spots.
Quick Facts About AMD
- AMD can affect one or both eyes
- The disease can progress very fast or very slow
- AMD can cause complete vision loss
- It is crucial to see an AMD specialist or retina specialist for treatment
Two Types of Macular Degeneration
There are two types of AMD: Dry and Wet. People can develop both types of AMD. The dry form of AMD can advance and lead to vision loss without developing into wet AMD. Many people will experience subtle differences in their vision without ever experiencing partial or total vision loss.
The First Signs of AMD
Common symptoms of AMD can vary and may include:
- Smudged, distorted, or lost field of vision
- Difficulty in seeing textures or distinguishing between two colors side by side
- Inability to adjust your eyes to changing light levels
- The need to increase the level of light to perform daily tasks
- Impaired depth perception
Dry AMD typically causes a slight blur, both up close and far away, in the central vision. As the disease progresses, this area can cause fuzzy and shadowed vision eventually leading to blind spots. Some people might also struggle to see fine details and certain colors.
With wet AMD, a person can experience the same signs as dry AMD, but they might also notice that straight lines are appearing wavy. In the severe form of wet AMD, there might be rapid vision loss, sometimes within a few days or weeks. If you are noticing any of the aforementioned signs, please call an AMD specialist immediately.
An AMD specialist in Orange County might tell you that the signs and symptoms of AMD can vary. When only one eye is affected, the individual might not notice any symptoms. Furthermore, there is no pain associated with AMD. In general, it is usually an eye doctor who detects the first signs of the disease prior to any actual symptoms. This is why it is so important to have annual eye exams when you reach the age of 60, or when you begin developing eye problems.
Less Common Signs and Symptoms of AMD
Although most people with AMD will not experience the following signs, it is important to be aware of them beforehand.
- Delayed Dark Adaptation: This symptom is difficult to notice, but occurs when the retina takes longer to adapt to bright to dark environment. An example of this would be going into a dark movie theater from a brightly area selling popcorn. It can take up to 30 minutes or more to adapt to the lighting.
- Flashing Lights: Some people with wet AMD notice a symptom which is reminiscent of flashing lights. This is not the same as flashing lights or floaters in the side vision area which could be another eye disorder.
- Shadows of White Walls: It is possible to only notice differences in your central vision when you are looking at a white wall. Dark or shadowed areas on a white wall could indicate wet AMD or retinal atrophy.
- Visual Hallucinations: Although rare, some people who experience a partial loss of their central vision will experience visual hallucinations. Known as Charles Bonnet syndrome this occurs when the brain fills in images after not receiving visual input from the retina.
Are You Experiencing the Signs and Symptoms of AMD?
If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned signs or symptoms of AMD, it is very important to discuss them with an AMD specialist. At the Retina Associates of Orange County, you can speak with an Orange County retina specialist about AMD and other health concerns that may be affecting your vision. To schedule an appointment at one of our local offices, contact us today.