Age-related macular degeneration is a condition often caught during routine eye exams at Wellington Eye Care. Your eyes need special care as you age and it becomes even more important to have regular exams with an eye doctor. There are many conditions that we watch for during regular eye exams. The earlier these conditions are caught, the better. Age-related macular degeneration is one such condition that our optometrist looks for during eye exams. Our eye doctor serves patients of all ages in the Fort Collins, Wellington, and the surrounding areas. Those over age 60 need to be mindful of age-related macular degeneration, as it is the leading cause of serious vision loss that cannot be reversed.
The Effect on the Eyes
Age-related macular degeneration occurs when the macula, which is the small area in the middle of your retina, wears down. The retina is located at the back of the eye and is the light-sensing nerve tissue. This disease does not normally cause blindness but does cause serious vision problems. It usually occurs as people get older and that is why it is called age-related macular degeneration.
Two Types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Patients suffer from one of two types of age-related macular degeneration, wet and dry. The dry form occurs when a patient has developed yellow deposits in their macula. These are called drusen and at first, will not change your vision. Over time, as the drusen grow and multiply, vision will become dimmed or distorted, especially when reading. In time, the macula will get thinner and thinner and at some point die. This means that there will be blind spots in the center of your vision or that central vision may be lost.
The wet form of this disease occurs when blood vessels form underneath the macula leak blood and fluid into the retina. This distorts your vision in a way that straight lines look wavy. There can also be blind spots and a loss of central vision because the bleeding eventually forms a scar.
Treating Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Our optometrist will look for signs of macular degeneration during every routine eye exam. The sooner this condition is discovered, the better. There is no cure, but the disease can be slowed. This can be done in several ways, including using anti-angiogenic drugs, laser therapy, photodynamic laser therapy, vitamins, and low vision aids.
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