Of all the eye diseases that affect your central vision, age-related macular degeneration is the most common. Macular degeneration occurs in two forms, wet and dry, and mainly affects people over 60. “Wet” macular degeneration is not as common but more aggressive in its development, prompting loss of central vision. “Dry” macular degeneration is more common and progresses much slower before causing loss of vision. Our Spring Valley eye doctor, Glenn Roter, O.D., will give you a comprehensive exam to not only detect the disease but determine if you are at risk of developing it. Dr. Roter tests the sharpness of your vision and uses an “Amsler grid” to establish if your vision has already been affected. Dr. Roter stays well-educated on all the latest advancements in both types of macular degeneration and makes sure to keep our patients very well-informed.
Wet macular degeneration develops when abnormal blood vessels begin to grow underneath the retina and begin to leak fluid and blood. The fluid and blood raise the macula from the back of the eye, its normal place, causing it to interfere with the proper function of the retina, and central vision is blurred. Under these circumstances, vision loss can be rapid and severe. With dry macular degeneration, light-sensitive cells in the macula break down more slowly. Frequently happening in one eye at first, central vision diminishes with less of the macula functioning. Our Spring Valley eye doctor will explain how dry macular degeneration is much more common than wet and its cause is unknown.
Our Spring Valley eye doctor will assure you that macular degeneration doesn’t cause any pain and the most common early symptom is blurred vision. The symptoms can worsen the quality of life, however, making driving, reading, and recognizing faces difficult. Other symptoms can include difficulty driving at night, not seeing colors as vividly, and a hazier quality to overall vision. All of these symptoms can also be present with the wet form of macular degeneration but the most common symptom in wet macular degeneration is straight lines appearing wavy or crooked.
Once our Spring Valley eye doctor has diagnosed which form of macular degeneration is present, proper treatment options will be discussed. Wet macular degeneration can be treated with laser surgery and injections into the eye. Unfortunately, these treatments are not a permanent cure and loss of vision, and the disease, can continue to grow despite treatment. There is currently no treatment available to reverse dry macular degeneration but on an up note, dry macular degeneration usually develops at a slower pace and most of our patients with this condition are able to live relatively normal, productive lives.