Dry macular degeneration is a condition of the eye that causes central vision loss. It is a relatively common condition and mainly affects people over the age of 60. While there is no cure for macular degeneration, Dr. Balocca at Eye On Health in Phoenix can create a treatment plan to slow the progression of the disease.
The Risk Factors of Macular Degeneration
Although anyone can develop macular degeneration, certain factors can increase your risk. These include:
- Age: People over 60 are at high risk for this condition.
- Family history: Research has shown that macular degeneration can be inherited.
- Race: This condition is most common in Caucasians.
- Obesity: Research has shown that obesity can increase the risk of developing this condition.
- Cardiovascular disease: If you have a disease that affects your heart or blood vessels, your risk of developing macular degeneration increases significantly.
- Smoking: Smoking cigarettes or being exposed to secondhand smoke can increase your risk of developing this condition.
Macular Degeneration Symptoms
The symptoms of macular degeneration come on gradually. They include:
- Seeing straight lines as bent
- Needing brighter lights while doing close-up work
- Reduced central vision in one or both eyes
- Trouble adapting to low lights
- Decreased brightness of colors
- Blurriness of printed words
- Trouble recognizing faces
- A blind or blurry spot in the central field of vision
Diagnosing Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration can be diagnosed during annual eye exams. During the exam, our optometrist will put dilating drops in your eyes to get a good look at the back of each eye. If we see yellow deposits known as drusen, we will perform more tests. These tests include:
- Amsler grid test: During this test, you will look at a grid. If you see the lines on the grid as broken, distorted, or faded, macular degeneration could be the cause.
- Indocyanine green angiography: This test is designed to determine the specific type of macular degeneration affecting you.
- Optical coherence tomography: This test can identify areas of the retina that are swollen, thickening, or thinning.
Treating Macular Degeneration
Although there is no cure for macular degeneration, there are ways you can slow the progression of the disease. Eating a healthy diet and not smoking is a great start. Also, our eye doctor can prescribe vitamin supplements to preserve your vision. When permanent vision loss occurs, it can affect your overall quality of life. Our eye doctor can recommend low vision aids, including:
- Hand-held magnifiers
- Large print publications
- Speech to text software
- Special appliances for low vision such as clocks and telephones with extra-large numbers
Contact Us for Quality Eye Care in Phoenix, AZ
Macular degeneration is a serious eye condition. Regular eye care visits are essential to detecting the condition early and starting treatment to preserve your vision. Call Dr. Brett Balocca at Eye On Health today at to schedule an eye exam.