May 7

What is Macular Degeneration?

Retinal disease, AMD, causes of blindness

by Elisabeth Parisi

The leading cause of blindness in the United States in individuals over age 55 is a disease of the retina - Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD).  At Eye Physicians and Surgeons, PA we have two retina specialists, Dr. Carolyn Glazer-Hockstein and Dr. Paula C. Ko.  They can provide diagnoses and treatment for your symptoms.

But first read more about this disease and the treatment available.  Is it important to note there are two forms of macular degeneration – dry and wet – each having a different cause.  They affect the retina which is at the back of they eye.  The retina helps us to see our surroundings.  You will want to note that symptoms of macular degeneration involve the following:  1.  Clear vision becomes blurred,  2.  Dark spots in the central vision become larger,  3.Straight lines become distorted,  4.  Colors seem darker or less vivid.          

(Looking through the eyes of someone with AMD.)

The following link contains a video which gives a clear demonstration of what each symptom looks like https://youtu.be/ozZQIZ_52YY

Two notes of caution ~  Symptoms may not be evident at first because if the disease is in just one eye, the other eye compensates – therefore eyes should be checked separately.  he same symptoms are present in other eye conditions, therefore it is important to be checked and diagnosed by an ophthalmologist.

The Dry form of macular degeneration affects the health of the macula.  Metabolic products (drusen) collect under the retina and over time causes gradual central vision loss.  Vitamin formulas can help slow the progress of drusen collection.

The Wet form of macular degeneration develops in eyes that usually already have the dry form. Basically the wet form contains leaky blood vessels that grow into the retina and cause swelling and bleeding.  Vision loss may be gradual or sudden if left untreated.  Injections of medicine into the eye are effective because the vascular epithelial growth factor (VEGF) binds to the medicine instead of to abnormal vessels, causing shrinkage of abnormal blood vessels.  The same link noted above provides this information in more detail.

Remember, EPS retina specialists, Dr. Glazer and Dr. Ko, treat many patients with this disease and are happy to answer questions about your symptoms, perform examination for diagnosis, and help you decide on treatment.  Simply call for an appointment at (302)-652-3353.

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