Our Spring Valley optometrist, Glenn Roter, OD, will give you a comprehensive eye exam to not only detect macular degeneration, but determine if you are at risk of developing it. Of all the eye diseases that affect your central vision, age-related macular degeneration is the most common. Occurring in two forms, wet and dry, macular degeneration usually affects people over the age of sixty. “Wet” macular degeneration is not as common as dry but is more aggressive in its development, causing loss of central vision. “Dry” macular degeneration is more common and progresses much slower before causing vision loss. Using an “Amsler grid”, Dr. Roter tests the sharpness of your vision to establish if your vision has already been affected. Keeping well educated on all modern advancements in both types of macular degeneration, Dr. Roter makes sure to keep our patients very well-informed.
With dry macular degeneration, light-sensitive cells in your macula break down slowly. Often occurring in one eye first, central vision diminishes with less of your macula functioning. Our Spring Valley optometrist will explain how dry macular degeneration is much more common than wet and that its cause is not known. Wet macular degeneration develops when abnormal blood vessels begin to grow beneath your retina and begin to leak fluid and blood. The fluid and blood raise the macula from its normal place in the back of your eye, causing it to interfere with the proper function of your retina, initiating your central vision to become blurred. Under these circumstances, vision loss can be rapid and severe.
The most common early symptom is blurred vision and our Spring Valley optometrist will assure you that macular degeneration doesn’t cause any pain. The symptoms, however, can affect your quality of life, making driving, reading, and recognizing faces difficult. Other symptoms may include difficulty driving at night, not seeing colors as vividly, and a cloudy 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 crooked or wavy. Wet macular degeneration can be treated with laser surgery and injections into the eye but, unfortunately, these treatments are not a permanent cure and vision loss, and the disease, can continue to grow. There is presently no treatment available to reverse dry macular degeneration but on a positive note, dry macular degeneration typically develops at a slower pace and most of our patients with this condition are able to live relatively productive, normal lives.