Macular Degeneration

Definition

Macular Degeneration is a description that encompasses changes to the anatomy or integrity of the center of the retina. Commonly, this category of condition is described as "dry" or "wet".

Does macular degeneration make you go blind?

Macular Degeneration is a description that encompasses changes to the anatomy or integrity of the center of the retina. Commonly, this category of condition is described as "dry" or "wet".

Can I influence my risks of getting macular degeneration?

Who gets Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is formally called 'age-related macular degeneration' because it is diagnosed in people over 55 years of age. The age of onset is highly variable as is the severity.  Caucasians are more likely do get this condition as are people of advanced age and smokers.

What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?

Controlling risk factors and improving your overall health are helpful measures. 

  • Stop or reduce smoking

  • Exercise and avoid obesity

  • Reduce cholesterol

  • Avoid ultraviolet (UV) light

  • If the ophthalmologist recommends, take a vitamin complex designed for macular degeneration

The symptoms can range from none to reduced or distorted central vision. Straight lines may seem curved or missing sections.

How is the diagnosis

of macular degeneration made?

The diagnosis is made by the ophthalmologist on clinical examination. Supporting tests may include an ultrasound of the macula (OCT), photography of the macula and fluorescein angiography.

What is the difference between "Dry" and "Wet" macular degeneration?

The diagnosis is made by the ophthalmologist on clinical examination. Supporting tests may include an ultrasound of the macula (OCT), photography of the macula and fluorescein angiography.

Eye

Which is the 'better' form?

One form is not better than the other. Wet macular degeneration was classically considered worse, but there are treatments for this form of the disease. There are no effective treatments for the dry variety.

Does macular degeneration always get worse?

Not necessarily. Some forms of this condition can progress and cause more significant visual compromise, but often the condition is stagnant and does not worsen. The key is monitoring the condition to detect progression as early as possible in case treatment is possible.

Can I monitor the condition myself?

While it is imperative to be followed by an ophthalmologist, an individual can monitor his or her own vision by checking the acuity regularly and using a grid or other linear target to check for distortion or missing areas.

© 2021 by Robert Friedman.