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Macular Degeneration vs. Macular Pucker or Epiretinal Membrane

Macular Degeneration vs. Macular Pucker or Epiretinal Membrane 1

Macular Degeneration vs. Macular Pucker or Epiretinal Membrane

Do you Know the Difference between Macular Degeneration and Macular Pucker/Epiretinal Membrane?

In the ever-changing world of research, many new advancements in technology have come about. These advancements have changed the way eye doctors look at macular degeneration (AMD). Also, they have changed the way they see macular pucker (MP) as well. Research started in the late 1800's and has given doctors more of an understanding of the two conditions.

In this article, we will discuss the differences between the two conditions. The point of this article is to keep you informed of the latest advancements, as well as the answers you seek. If you or your loved ones suffer from AMD or MP, then we recommend you read this article.

What Is Macular Degeneration?

AMD is an eye condition that results from damage to the macula, or the center of vision. Many people suffer from this condition and AMD is also the cause of severe vision loss in many of the elderly. The damage that AMD causes is not curable, but the condition is treatable in most cases.

Doctors today use a variety of treatment methods to slow down and stop the damage that AMD causes. Treatments often begin with AREDS2 vitamin supplementation and diet/lifestyle changes (like removing smoking from your life!) and may progress to injectable medications like Lucentis, Eylea, Macugen, and Visudyne.  These are all administered in office by an ophthalmologist.

What Is Macular Pucker?

A macular pucker is scar tissue that has formed on the eye’s macula. The macula is in the center of the retina. It is one of the components in the eye that makes the eye light-sensitive. When enough scar tissue builds up, it makes the macula less sensitive to the light and may inhibit light filtration. MP (or Epiretinal Membrane) gives the appearance of wrinkled cellophane over the macula, so this condition is sometimes also known as Cellophane Maculopathy.

So now you are likely asking yourself if AMD and MP are related in any way. The answer is no. The two conditions are as different as night and day. So different in fact that they both take two different treatments. Where AMD takes supplements, laser, and injections to treat, macular pucker requires no treatment in the early stages. The blurry effects that the scar tissue has on the macula is minimal in most cases.

The condition becomes more likely as you age. The vitreous fluid in the eye shrinks and pulls away from the retina. That is what causes blurry vision in some elderly people. If the vision loss from MP is significant, extensive procedures (like a vitrectomy) can be done to treat it...but only in the most severe cases!

Conclusion

Macular degeneration and macular pucker are two different issues, but they can both be present at the same time. If you are having blurry vision, we recommend you visit your eye care specialist as soon as possible. Seeing your eye doctor now can reduce the risk of vision loss and ensure great vision for as long as possible. Do you have either of these conditions? Let’s hear about your experience below!

One Love,

Dr. Travis Zigler, Eye Love

Dr. Travis Zigler

Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration­?

Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration­? 1

Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration

Does everyone with Macular Degeneration eventually go blind?

A person who has been diagnosed with macular degeneration is naturally concerned about permanently losing their sight since the eye disease is the number one cause of severe blindness.

What is Macular Degeneration?

At the front of an eye there’s a lens and an opening, which both adjust to bring objects in focus for the retina at the back of the eye. The retina is a delicate tissue that’s very sensitive to light, similar to the film in a camera. The macula is found in the middle of the retina where the incoming light is focused. It is responsible for all central vision, including color.

Macular degeneration occurs when the cells of the macula become damaged, then stop working properly. It is generally an age-related condition. However, people who are younger, even children, can develop a form of macular degeneration known as macular dystrophy.

What  are the symptoms?

There are two forms of macular degeneration, wet and dry. Their causes are mostly unknown. The macula starts to deteriorate and central vision slowly breaks down. It often occurs in just one eye initially but eventually spreads to both eyes. In the earlier stages, central vision may become blurred or distorted.

The dry form develops over a period of several months. Patients may become very sensitive to light and/or actually see lights that are not actually there. As the disease gets worse, a dark, blurry spot may appear in the middle of the vision. This spot appears because cells in the macula have stopped working. Over time, the blurred spot may get larger and darker, reducing more of the central vision. Wet macular degeneration can develop at any time and is often thought of as the more severe form of AMD.

What’s the risk of blindness?

The wet form of macular degeneration is the more severe of the two. It occurs as new blood vessels behind the retina start to grow toward the macula. According to brightfocus.org, the wet form affects about 10% of people with macular degeneration. The risk of vision loss is significant, but it’s not absolute and can be prevented with prompt and proper treatment. No one will ever go completely blind from macular degeneration.

Prevention

Although most cases of wet macular degeneration are due to genetics, there are a number of lifestyle and dietary factors that can affect the risk of developing the dry form of the eye disease. A study conducted by the National Eye Institute found that higher levels of antioxidants, like pycnogenol or grape seed extract, taken daily in combination with zinc, can reduce the risk of advanced macular degeneration by 25%.

Other studies have noted beneficial changes to a diet rich in dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale. Ultraviolet light also can damage the retina and increase the risk of developing macular degeneration. Therefore, it is extremely important to protect eyes when outdoors with a great pair of UV protected sunglasses.

As always, knowledge is power so getting the latest information about macular degeneration is extremely important. Any tips you’ve heard that we may have missed? Let us know below!


One Love,

Dr. Jenna Zigler, Eye Love

Dr. Jenna Zigler

 

Other Macular Degeneration articles by Dr. Zigler: Managing Macular Degeneration: Diet and LifestyleHow Fast Does Macular Degeneration Progress?Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration?

We would love for you to join our Macular Degeneration Support Community on Facebook.

 

Ways To Prevent Macular Degeneration Naturally

Ways To Prevent Macular Degeneration Naturally 0

Ways To Prevent Macular Degeneration Naturally

The macula is in the center part of the retina and in the back part of the eye, which records how we see. The macula then sends this information from the retina to the brain to interpret the images. Macular degeneration is the breaking down of the macula causing problems with the center point of vision.

Are there ways to prevent macular degeneration naturally?

Ways To Prevent Macular Degeneration Naturally

There are many ways to lessen your chances of developing this disease. First are some of the common sense healthy lifestyle choices we should all make:  Drink plenty of water and don’t smoke.  Smokers are four times more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD) than non-smokers! Studies done at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary also found that men who eat fish at least twice a week are 45% less likely to develop macular degeneration. Omega-3s for the win!

Eat a diet rich in dark leafy vegetables such as kale, raw spinach, and collard greens to make sure you get lots of antioxidants. Uncooked spinach is found to be the most effective of the three. It is recommended you eat fruits and nuts daily, and talk to your eye specialist or medical doctor about multivitamins and multimineral supplements. Don’t forget to wear sunglasses that block UV rays and limit your blue light exposure from smartphones and electronic screens. One way to limit the blue light exposure is to look up from your phone more often and for longer periods. You can also find blue-blocking lenses that work well for hours of computer work.

Exercise and Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising are also good for your eyes. People who exercise on a regular basis -- three or more times a week, like walking two miles a day, are 70% less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration. Eating fruits and veggies is important and also reduces the refined carbs you eat. Refined carbs are foods such as white bread, pretzels, potatoes, and donuts. Instead, try eating more low-glycemic foods such as multigrain or whole wheat breads.

Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Cholesterol is that fatty material that builds up in blood vessels and makes it harder for the blood to flow freely. Cholesterol that builds up can make it harder for your eyes to maintain the health they deserve, creating added pressure on the delicate veins in the eyes. Hypertension must also be controlled to prevent macular changes from worsening.

Don’t Forget to Get Your Eyes Checked

Everyone should get an eye exam, but as you age this becomes more essential. It is recommended that between the ages of 40 to 60 you have an eye exam every two years. After age 60, eye exams should be done yearly. Talk to your eye doctor and see what supplements are recommended for your eye health!


One Love,

Dr. Jenna Zigler, Eye Love

Dr. Jenna Zigler

Other Macular Degeneration articles by Dr. Zigler: Managing Macular Degeneration: Diet and LifestyleHow Fast Does Macular Degeneration Progress?Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration?

We would love for you to join our Macular Degeneration Support Community on Facebook.

 

Macular Degeneration: Prevention Principles You Need To Know

Macular Degeneration: Prevention Principles You Need To Know 0

Macular Degeneration: Prevention Principles You Need To Know

Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60. It occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates. The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of the eye.

There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet. Most of the time, Macular Degeneration begins as the dry type, but in 10-20% of cases it progresses to the wet type. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is almost always bilateral (occurs in both eyes), but does not necessarily progress at the same rate in both eyes. Therefore, it is possible to experience the wet type in one eye and the dry type in the other eye.

Dry Macular Degeneration

Dry AMD is known as the atrophic type, affecting approximately 80-90% of individuals with the disease. Its exact cause is unknown and it tends to progress more slowly than the wet type, but there is not an approved treatment or cure. In dry age-related macular degeneration, small white or yellowish deposits, called drusen, form on the retina beneath the macula, causing it to deteriorate over time.

Wet Macular Degeneration

The wet type of AMD, known as neovascular, affects approximately 10-15% of people with age-related macular degeneration, but it accounts for approximately 90% of all cases of severe vision loss from the disease. Therefore, the wet type of macular degeneration is considered the worse diagnosis of the two. But it’s important to remember that the dry type of AMD often progresses to the wet type.

In wet age-related macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels form under the retina and begin to grow toward the macula. These new blood vessels are abnormal, so they tend to break and bleed, and the leaks of blood damage the macula by causing the macula to pull away from its base. This tends to cause a rapid and severe loss of central vision ability.

Treatments

The FDA recently approved the Implantable Miniature Telescope (IMT) for End-Stage Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Read more about it here. This telescope does not treat the disease, but rather gives the patient some form of sight after the disease has progressed to vision loss. At this time, vitamin supplementation for dry AMD and anti-angiogenic injections for wet AMD are the best known treatments. Many clinical trials are underway to discover a more effective drug or surgical treatment for macular degeneration but at this time, it seems that prevention is the best defense against the disease.

Macular Degeneration: Prevention Principles You Need To Know

Prevention

Here’s a list of 7 suggestions that may help prevent the development of Macular Degeneration. This list is not intended to be exhaustive. There are many studies currently exploring natural ways of preventing and treating AMD.

  1. Quit smoking!
  2. Eat plenty of dark, leafy green vegetables, such as raw spinach.
  3. Eat fish or take a fish oil supplement.
  4. Exercise regularly, maintaining a healthy weight.
  5. Eat fruit and nuts daily.
  6. Reduce intake of refined carbohydrates.
  7. Control blood pressure and cholesterol.

If you are currently suffering from Macular Degeneration, or know someone who is, take solace in the fact that the medical community is committed to finding an effective cure for this disease. If you are concerned about developing AMD, there are many actions for prevention that can be utilized as well. Comment below if you or someone you love suffer from this awful disease. What have you found to treat it or cope with the vision loss?


One Love,

Dr. Jenna Zigler

 

Other Macular Degeneration articles by Dr. Zigler: Managing Macular Degeneration: Diet and LifestyleHow Fast Does Macular Degeneration Progress?Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration?

We would love for you to join our Macular Degeneration Support Community on Facebook.

 

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