Symptoms of Wet Macular Degeneration 0
Symptoms of Wet Macular Degeneration
Symptoms of degrading vision often build slowly and go unnoticed for a long period of time until they reach a degree of severity that may no longer be ignored. One may notice that he or she now needs glasses to read the text of a favorite book or magazine. Headaches grow more frequent - the result of constantly strained eye muscles. Once bright and vibrant colors may even take on more dull and muted hues.
While many conditions may result in impaired vision, wet macular degeneration is one of the most common culprits. According to AMD.org, when one is afflicted with this form of macular degeneration the membrane beneath the retina thickens and eventually breaks, disrupting the supply of critical oxygen to the macula. In response to this assault, the body forms new, abnormal blood vessels which grow up from beneath the retina toward the macula. These new blood vessels are quite delicate and are prone to leaking, which leads to scarring of the macula. This causes damage to both the retina and macula and often results in a rapid degradation of vision that, once lost, cannot be restored.
As is often the case with illness, catching wet macular degeneration early is key so one may take action to minimize its negative effects. While the condition is fairly serious, there exist several treatment options that can be highly effective if applied early. Following are a few telltale signs of wet macular degeneration.
- Slightly blurred vision
- Visual distortions in which straight lines may appear curved or crooked
- Blind spots that most often appear in the middle of the visual field and that grow larger if left untreated
- Hallucinations that involve seeing objects, animals, or people that aren’t actually present
Along with watching for symptoms, it is also important to know the risk factors for wet macular degeneration. Taking steps to reduce these risk factors is a critical step to take along the path of risk reduction. Additional risk factors for developing this condition include:
- High blood pressure
- A diet high in saturated fats and simple carbohydrates
- Lack of exercise
Knowledge is power. With an increased awareness of both symptoms and risk factors, one can detect and guard against the development of wet macular degeneration before it has a chance to threaten his or her vision. Additionally, eliminating the additional risk factors for this condition will not only help to protect one’s vision, it will also contribute to an overall greater level of health and vitality.
Dr. Jenna Zigler
- Dr. Jenna Zigler
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Why and How Macular Degeneration Affects Vision 0
Why and How Macular Degeneration Affects Vision
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) affects vision because the macula is part of the retina of the eye. The macula is located behind the lens on the back of the eyeball and helps images get to the optic nerve so they can be interpreted by the brain. The macula has the specific purpose of focusing fine details and enables people to read, drive, and see things like facial expressions.
So when the macula starts to break down and become dysfunctional, the central field of vision also suffers, though it leaves peripheral vision intact. This often causes confusion for those who are close to the person with macular degeneration because their eyes still look normal from the outside, so people don’t know why so much is missed by the one with AMD. At its worst form, what a person with AMD sees is almost like those scratcher cards that haven’t been scratched off yet — a blank circle covering the center area of where they look. Before that, the central vision may be distorted or partially “scratched.”
People with AMD are not blind, but they don’t have a full range of vision either. They are somewhere in between – as the former National Association for Visually Handicapped’s founding director, Dr. Lorraine Marchi, coined the phrase for AMD as being “hard of seeing.” A loved-one with AMD may not see the eyes of the person they are looking at, but they can usually see the general shape of the face. Since they know where the eyes are generally located, they can look at the eyes without seeing them.
In America, AMD — usually in the form of age-related macular degeneration— is the leading cause of vision loss for those who are over the age of 60. Studies show that exposure to UV rays, obesity, and smoking may increase the risk of AMD, and it seems to be more prevalent in Caucasians than in African-Americans. It has hereditary links and is also more common among women than men. Though there are two forms of AMD (wet and dry), 90% of those suffering from AMD have the dry, less severe form.
No cure has been found yet for AMD. With early detection, there are treatments that slow the progress of the disease, extending full vision longer. Have you been diagnosed with macular degeneration?
Dr. Travis Zigler
SOURCES: http://www.visionaware.org/info/your-eye-condition/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd/how-does-amd-affect-vision/125 http://www.vistaeyecare.net/your-eye-health/eye-diseases/macular-degeneration/
- Dr. Travis Zigler
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How Does Macular Degeneration Lead to Blindness? 0
- Dr. Jenna Zigler
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Age-Related Macular Degeneration 0
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is damage that occurs to the macula which is located in the back of the eye, directly at the line of sight. The macula is the part of the eye that is responsible for sharp central vision, which enables a person to pinpoint objects and recognize faces. This deterioration occurs from older age in many individuals, as the name suggests.
There are two types of AMD. The first type is dry AMD, which is characterized by a breakdown of the macular tissues which causes a buildup to form underneath the retinal layers, called drusen. If the yellow deposits of drusen increase in size, then the tissue at the back of the eye may be cut off from its blood supply. If this occurs, new blood vessels form and tend to leak. This leads to the second type of macular degeneration, which is wet or exudative AMD. Both of these types of macular degeneration can lead to devastating loss of vision.
AMD is preventative by eating approximately 2.5-5 cups of leafy, green vegetables a day which boost antioxidants and help fight free radicals that take part in the age-related breakdown of the macula. Wearing proper UV protection, a healthy exercise regimen, and not smoking may also decrease the risk of AMD. In fact, smoking increased your AMD risk by over four times!
There are vitamin supplements that are available which have antioxidants in them, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, that have been shown to help filter oxidative chemicals and harmful blue light causing damage to the macula. However, it is important to consult with an eye doctor before beginning any new eye vitamins. Our Ocular Health Formula from Eye Love is used daily with our patients and is definitely approved by us!
Patients who have dry AMD are commonly monitored with an Amsler Grid. Patients are given this grid to monitor how their vision is functioning. If they see any parts of the grid missing, or wavy lines, it may indicate that their condition is changing. If wet AMD begins, they will likely become a candidate for anti-VEGF injections. Anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) is a drug that is used to stop new blood vessel formation in its tracks. Eylea, Avastin, and Lucentis are the names of the drugs that are successfully being used at this time. These drugs aim to preserve vision and in some cases improve sight. If you’re suffering from macular degeneration, don’t wait to begin supplements and definitely don’t delay that eye exam!
We love hearing from those with AMD and especially hearing success stories. If you’ve got one, post it in the comments below!
Rufino, Silva. Age Related Macular Degeneration . Portugal : GER Group , 2010. Print.
- Dr. Jenna Zigler
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