St. George Macular Degeneration Care

St. George Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration in Optometry and Ophthalmology

What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over age 70. 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. Because the disease develops as a person ages, it is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Although macular degeneration is almost never a totally blinding condition, it can be a source of significant visual disability. Vision loss from macular degeneration can severely restrict reading, driving, and recognizing people.

Most patients with macular degeneration have the dry form of the disease and can lose some form of central vision. However, the dry form of macular degeneration can lead to the wet form at any time and without warning. Although only about 10%-15% of people with dry macular degeneration develop the wet form, they make up the majority of those who experience serious vision loss from the disease.

It is very important for people with macular degeneration to monitor their eyesight carefully and see their St. George eye doctor on a regular basis or immediately if there are any changes to their vision. Graf Medical Eye Care is prepared and available to assist you in controlling Macular Degeneration so you can retain as much vision as possible and enjoy your life and lifestyle.

Please call if you or any members of your family in St. George have macular degeneration and make an appointment so we can begin helping you today.

What Are the Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration?

As the name suggests, age-related macular degeneration is more common in older adults. In fact, it is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over age 70. Macular degeneration may be hereditary. If someone in your family has or had the condition you are at higher risk for developing macular degeneration. Talk to our eye doctor about your individual risk. Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, being light skinned, female, and having a light eye color are also risk factors for macular degeneration.

About Dry Macular Degeneration – St. George, Utah

Dry Macular Degeneration is the most common type of Age Related Macular Degeneration. Dry Macular Degeneration makes up approximately 85-90% of cases of Macular Degeneration. The "dry" form of macular degeneration is characterized by the presence of yellow deposits, called drusen, in the macula. A few small drusen may not cause changes in vision; however, as they grow in size and increase in number, they may lead to a dimming or distortion of vision that people find most noticeable when they read. In more advanced stages of dry macular degeneration, there is also a thinning of the light-sensitive layer of cells in the macula leading to atrophy, or tissue death. In the atrophic form of dry macular degeneration, patients may have blind spots in the center of their vision. In the advanced stages, patients lose central vision and can become legally blind. If you have Drusen, your eye doctor may ask you to schedule eye examinations more frequently in order to monitor your eyes for progression as there is a 10%-15% possibility that Dry Macular Degeneration will progress to Wet Macular Degeneration over a period of time. Thus people with Dry Macular Degeneration, even without any noticeable change in vision, need to be followed closely as Wet Macular Degeneration has far more serious consequences for vision loss. 

St. George Macular Degeneration
St. George Macular Degeneration

About Wet Macular Degeneration - – St. George, Utah

Fortunately, Wet Macular Degeneration only accounts for about 10-15% of cases of Macular Degeneration as it is likely to cause far more serious vision loss than Dry Macular Degeneration. The "wet" form of macular degeneration is characterized by the growth of abnormal blood vessels from the choroid underneath the macula. This is called choroidal neovascularization. These blood vessels leak blood and fluid into the retina, causing distortion of vision that makes straight lines look wavy, as well as blind spots and loss of central vision. These abnormal blood vessels eventually scar, leading to permanent loss of central vision. The wet form of macular degeneration tends to affect vision faster and more aggressively than the dry form. There are no cures for wet macular degeneration although there are new treatments of injectable medication that work to help change the wet degeneration back to the less threatening type of dry AMD.

Macular Degeneration is a complex eye disease. Depending on the type and level of macular degeneration treatment options vary. It is easier to keep the condition stable than to reverse past damage. If you ever notice subtle changes in vision, call immediately for an appointment. Permanent vision loss is much more common when patients wait weeks or months to have an examination after noticing changes to their vision.

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