Educate Yourself: Macular Degeneration
OCT image showing the cellular layers of the retina in cross-section
OCT image showing abnormal blood vessels beneath the retina due to macular degeneration
Macular degeneration, also known as AMD (short for age-related macular degeneration), is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. Symptoms of macular degeneration include blurry or distorted central vision. Macular degeneration never causes complete blindness but can substantially limit your ability to read, drive or recognize faces.
Dry macular degeneration occurs when yellow deposits called drusen are formed underneath the retina. Early dry AMD may not cause any vision problems, but can progress to a more severe form known as wet macular degeneration. Special formulations of anti-oxidant vitamins can help prevent worsening of dry AMD. Discontinuation of smoking is also helpful.
In wet macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels develop beneath the retina. These abnormal vessels can leak and bleed leading to rapid distortion and blurring of central vision.
Treatment of wet AMD usually involves injection of medicines into the eye based on the retinal images from optical coherence tomography (OCT). These medications are injected in our office and are often successful in improving vision or preventing further vision loss.