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Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss for those over the age of 60.  Regular exams can detect AMD and lifestyle changed can help you avoid it.
AMD is a painless, but often sight-robbing condition which damages the macula (the area of the retina responsible for sharp central vision).  Deterioration of this structure at the back of the eye makes everyday tasks, like reading, driving or recognizing faces, difficult.  The strongest risk factors for AMD is advancing age and genetic.  Contributing risk actors include smoking, obesity and fair ocular complexion. 

AMD is designated as either dry or wet.

Dry AMD:  About 80% of people with AMD have this form.  Dry AMD is usually less severe than wet AMD and tends to progress more slowly. It is characterized by whitish/yellow deposits that develop in the macula called Drusen.  Symptoms include blurred vision, requiring more light for reading, trouble distinguishing faces or print and the development of a blind spot in the central vision.  Dry AMD can progress to wet AMD.

Wet AMD:  In the case of wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels develop at the back of the eye.  These fragile vessels can bleed and as blood or other fluids build up, it lifts the macula and causes distortions.  Straight lines appear jagged; objects seem smaller or farther away than they actually are.  A blind spot often develops

A screening tool, called an Amsler grid, can detect these types of distortions.  You can find a free Amsler grid* for use at home by visiting www.armd.org.uk/amlser.htm.

At Nashville Eye Group, we have screening technology to help us catch sight threatening macular degeneration before it progresses.  We utilize many technological advances to manage this disease.

Treatment

Dry AMD is frequently treated nutritionally in its early and late stages.  Recently, the team at Nashville Eye Group began to utilize genetic testing to aid in our assessment and treatment of the disease.
Wet AMD is treated by eye doctors specialized in treating only the retina.  Historically, wet AMD could only be treated by destroying the new blood vessels with laser treatment.  This was effective in limiting vision loss.  Now, exciting new treatments exist that cause the new blood vessels to go away with injectable medication.

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