By Enrique Calderon, MD
You may have age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). ARMD is one of the most common causes of decreased vision in people above 55 years of age.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON SYMPTOMS OF MACULAR DEGENERATION? You may experience blurry vision, trouble seeing in dim light, or recognizing faces. You may develop a shadow in the center of your vision. You can even experience distortion or waviness of letters and lines when reading.
HOW DO I KNOW OR FIND OUT IF I HAVE MACULAR DEGENERATION? Your eye doctor (Ophthalmologist or Optometrist) may screen you for it during routine medical eye evaluations. This usually entails checking your vision and dilating your pupils with special eye drops that allow the provider to look into the back part of your eyes with special instruments and techniques. Your provider may even do special tests like OCT or Fundus photos to further aid in the screening process.
WHAT DO I DO IF I AM DIAGNOSED WITH MACULAR DEGENERATION? Your eye care provider will talk to you about your findings and may refer you to the Retina Specialist. The Retina Specialist at Metrolina Eye Associates may do some additional testing and then discuss with you what type of macular degeneration you have, and what needs to be done about it.
IS THERE TREATMENT FOR MACULAR DEGENERATION? Yes and No. Depending on the type of macular degeneration treatment such as eye injections are available and may be indicated for the Exudative ( Wet) type of macular degeneration. There is no effective treatment for the Dry form of ARMD. Eye vitamins are indicated to try to slow the progression of dry ARMD disease.
WHY DO I HAVE MACULAR DEGENERATION? No other animal group that we know of develops macular degeneration. It is more prevalent in the Caucasian race. 70% of ARMD is generally believed to be genetic. Therefore 30% we believe is modifiable. This is why we recommend a healthy diet full of greens and vegetables that contain plenty of vitamin A, C & E. Also, no smoking, UV light protection against the sun such as wearing sunglasses with 100% protection against UV rays, and adequate blood pressure control are advised.
If you think you have macular degeneration or know you do and want to talk further about your vision concern(s) please call one of our offices today to schedule an appointment with our Retina Specialist, Dr. Calderon. Dr. Calderon is a board-certified in Ophthalmology by the American Board of Ophthalmology, is a member of the American Society of Retina Specialists and has completed a two-year Retina fellowship for advanced training in the diagnosis, treatment and surgery of the retina and vitreous.