Macular degeneration has two types of presentation. In the dry type, the tissue of the macula atrophies or becomes thin and stops functioning properly. Dry macular degeneration is thought to occur as part of the aging process for some people. There is no medical treatment for this slowly progressive condition. The Age Related Macular Degeneration Study (AREDS) showed that high amounts of antioxidants and zinc are helpful in preventing progression of macular degeneration. There is also ample evidence that the dietary supplements of lutein and zeaxanthin are also helpful in reducing the risk of macular degeneration progression. Our office also recommends smoking cessation and sun protection with UV blocking sunglasses. Dry macular degeneration needs to be monitored as it can turn into wet macular degeneration.
Wet macular degeneration results from fluid leakage from newly formed blood vessels under the macula causing significant vision loss. Wet macular degeneration is less common but more serious. Vision loss with wet macular degeneration is quick, severe and irreversible. Therefore early detection of wet macular degeneration is important for more successful treatment outcomes. Wet macular degeneration patients may suddenly notice dark spots, blank spots, wavy lines, and dim colors in the center of your vision. This is why macular degeneration patients are given a grid to self-test themselves at home. Wet macular degeneration progression can be slowed, stopped, and in some cases made better with medical injections by a retinal specialist. The gold standard in wet macular diagnosis is flourescein angiography performed by a retinal specialist. This procedure is invasive involving dye injections in the patient’s bloodstream. Because there are a relatively small number of retinal specialists in our state, the general public has limited access to flourescein angiography.
The recent advent of Spectral Domain OCT technology has revolutionized the detection and treatment of wet macular degeneration. The Spectral Domain OCT machine functions much the same for retinal tissue as the CAT scan does for brain tissue. Now it is possible to detect wet macular degeneration with the latest OCT technology. This OCT test is non invasive and very accessible since can be performed in any eye doctor’s office such as ours who has the OCT machine.
Randy Hertneky, O. D.
Yuma Vision Source
105 S. Main St
Yuma, CO 80759
Wray Vision Clinic
415 Main Street, Wray, Colorado 80758
Author: Dr. Randy Hertneky
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Sunglasses and UV Radiation
Yuma Vision Source
105 South Main Street, Yuma CO