Optometrist Serving Conway and the Surrounding Areas
Macular degeneration (AMD) is a deterioration of the macula, which is a very small area of the retina. The macula is paramount in creating clear images in the central vision. Macular Degeneration can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated.
Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration typically occurs in individuals older than 60, but can occur at much younger ages if certain risk factors are present, including smoking and family history. The disease is most often found in individuals of Caucasian decent.
Diet and lifestyle have been known to increase a person’s risk for macular degeneration. Therefore, it is important to stop smoking, regularly participate in exercise, have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked regularly, and eat a diet that is high in fish and leafy, dark green vegetables, including kale, collard and turnip greens, chard and spinach.
Diagnosing Macular Degeneration
Our optometrists use several different tests to diagnose macular degeneration, including vision testing, dilation, and use of the Amsler Grid. The vision testing is exactly the same as the standard eye examination. Our optometrist will display various letters and numbers and ask you to read them.
Dilating your eyes allows our eye doctor to examine the back of your eyes, looking for deterioration and abnormalities.
The Amsler Grid looks like a square of graph paper. During this test, our eye doctor will ask you to stare at the center dot. If any of the lines become wavy, blurry or distorted, you may have macular degeneration.
Stages of AMD and Treatment
There are three stages of AMD: Early, Intermediate, and Advanced. There is no treatment for Early AMD. Generally, the condition is simply monitored for advancement. Though you may want to try some of the prevention techniques, including quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising.
Intermediate AMD is treated primarily with vitamin supplements. Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Vitamins C and E, Beta carotene, and zinc have been shown to slow the progression of the disease. It is also recommended that individuals with Intermediate AMD increase their intake of fish.
Advanced AMD is treated with injections, photodynamic therapy, and laser surgery. Though, surgery is reserved as a last resort after all other treatments have failed to slow the progression.
Coping with an AMD Diagnosis
It is normal to feel angry and upset after being diagnosed with AMD. Our team of vision professionals will do everything to help you understand the disease and treatment options. The rate of degeneration is different for everyone. We will keep a close watch over your vision loss and do everything possible to help you maintain your vision.
When to See Our Optometrists
Any time you notice a change in your vision, you should schedule an appointment with one of our optometrists. At a minimum, you should get your eyes checked once a year.
To schedule an appointment, please call us at 843-488-2020.